On the 22nd May 2019, the Athletics Union at the University of Exeter hosted a Colours and Awards Ceremony for all of the outstanding athletes who have deserved official recognition for their achievements.
Three members of the Rifle Club were chosen to receive awards this year. Jason Pepera-Hibbert was awarded University Colours, the highest accolade that can be bestowed by the University, for his fantastic achievements this year as a member of the GB U25 squad that competed in the World Championships in Trentham, New Zealand.
Our Club Captain, Natasha, also received an award at the ceremony. She received the Club Award for her outstanding commitment and service to the society throughout her time serving as Captain.
Huge congratulations to Natasha, all of her hard work has been recognised by the Athletics Union – in addition to her Club Award this year, she was also shortlisted to the final 6 out of all 50 AU Sports Societies for Club Captain of the Year.
And finally, Danny Lay also received an award this year – Club Colours, but due to training commitments unfortunately could not attend the ceremony. Congratulations to Danny for all of his successes this year, including his amazing performance at ESSU.
Congratulations to the Rifle Club’s three recipients of Colours and Awards this year, you all deserve your success and recognition!
Awards season is well underway here in Exeter, and our final celebration of the year, the End of Season Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Saturday 25th May was surely the highlight of the social calendar. We arrived at Harry’s Restaurant on Longbrook Street at 7:30pm to start the festivities.
The celebration was a particularly important one this year, as it marked the 50th Anniversary of the club, which was established in November 1968. So, in addition to celebrating all of the societies’ successes this year and the individuals who made them, we were also in celebration of the 50 years of rich history that our society contains.
In addition to the fantastic food and drink, and the wonderful hospitality that Harry’s Restaurant provided, there was also a speech by the Club Captain.
It’s been a challenging year for the Rifle committee, and yet the society hasn’t been without its successes, both individual and as part of a team. We had two club trips to Bisley again this year, furthering the membership’s interest and ability to practise fullbore, and have entered multiple smallbore competitions including the famous Turkey Shoot down at Budleigh Farm to shoot long range smallbore. The club’s wider influence within the shooting community has been greatly improved, with links being forged between EURC and BYSA, PTSC, LMRA and RAFSAA to name just a few.
But, the realest measure of EURC is the turnout here tonight.
Someone once told me that life’s truest happiness is found in the friendships we make along the way. For me, EURC has been a huge part of my life here at university. Trust me when I say I have put more thought and time into this society than either of my two degrees. I have always been attracted to the shooting community, since I started target rifle over 10 years ago at the age of 12. There is just something hugely special about the camaraderie that shooting sports create.
When attending various shooting events and matches throughout the past two years, on multiple occasions I have bumped into historic ex-Club Captains of EURC. Together, we reminisce of our times in the society.
This made me realise something.
We are all part of something incredibly, incredibly special. We will always and forever be a part of EURC, that is something that nobody can take away from us. 10, 15 or even 20 years from now, we might bump into each other and share some of the memories we have made together here in this society.
It has been my absolute pleasure to serve the society as its 50th Captain this year, and it has been an honour to be surrounded by the people who show what it truly means to “bleed green”. Thank you.
This speech was followed by the Awards Ceremony. The first awards were the Smallbore and Fullbore Colours, presented by our Smallbore Captain, Danny Lay and our Fullbore Captain, Tom Hill.
Congratulations to the following recipients of Smallbore Colours: James MacTaggart David Chalmers
Congratulations to the following recipients of Fullbore colours: Thomas De La Cour Louisa Collier
Then, our Club Captain Natasha presented the Top Gun awards, which are presented to people whom show the most fantastic display of riflery during their time in the society.
Congratulations to the following recipients of Top Gun Awards: Jason Pepera-Hibbert Danny Lay David Chalmers Thomas De La Cour
The next award is steeped with history of the society, initially created in 2012/13, and has been awarded by a series of Club Captains of the society to two recipients. Congratulations to Steph Chanter and Louisa Collier for their keenness, commitment to the club and excellent riflery this year.
Following these awards, Natasha, Club Captain introduced three new awards this year. The first is Sportsperson of the Year Award, which was awarded to Jason Pepera-Hibbert for his outstanding achievements over the past year including representing the GB U25 team in Trentham, New Zealand for the World Championships.
The second new award was the Sportsperson of the Year Award (Novice) which recognises a tyro within the society who has done exceptionally well or shown a lot of keenness and commitment to target rifle so early on in their shooting career. Yuan Zuo received the Sportsperson of the Year Award (Novice) trophy for his outstanding commitment to the sport this year.
The final new award of the season is The Volunteer Award which was created by our Club Captain, Natasha, to recognise the exceptional and outstanding commitment and work towards the society that has been undertaken by individuals on a voluntary basis. The two inaugural recipients of The Volunteer Award this year are Amy Denson and Thomas De La Cour. Natasha was inspired to create this award when working together with Richard Stebbings, Chairman of the British Young Shooters Association to further the peaceful pursuit of marksmanship at Exeter University.
All in all, in every report it was a fantastic evening to celebrate and commemorate both our 50 years of target rifle shooting as a society and all of the fantastic members who have made this year both so successful and so special.
Congratulations to all those which received awards and Happy 50th Birthday to Exeter University Rifle Club!
Our Senior Advisor and ex-Fullbore Captain Jason has just finished competing in the ICFRA U25 World Championships, far away from home in New Zealand. He’s done team GB incredibly proud: attaining U25 individual 4th overall, achieving the top GB individual score, and becoming the U25 long range World Champion. This shows the product of not only his innate talent for target shooting, but also reflects the hard work and hours of training that he has dedicated to this fantastic sport.
Taking a look back at his previous shooting achievements and his fullbore career to date, this doesn’t come as a surprise to those who know him. Jason has always shown his incredible marksmanship prowess when competing alongside and for the society, and as an extension his supreme coaching ability with our members, novice and experienced alike.
Jason started out in the university club in 2016, already making a splash as an ex-Atheling coming from a school renowned for its shooting prowess, Wellington College. Immediately proving his worth he was selected for the club A teams in both smallbore and fullbore, achieving gold in the fullbore individuals competition at the Imperial that summer.
Continuing to develop both the society and his wider coaching skills, he became the fullbore captain at Exeter and returned to his Wellington shooting roots to coach the school teams in his breaks from his studies. That summer at the 149th Imperial meeting, he achieved silver in the individuals and was on the winning team, earning Exeter gold overall in Fullbore BUCS 2018. Jason’s personal feats in the Imperial that summer did not end there – after coming 16th in HM Queen’s final, renowned as the most coveted prize in the shooting world, and achieving his X-class status, all at the young age of 20.
It was clear that Jason was not done yet and had much more to offer, as evidenced when he jetted off to New Zealand for the U25 World Championships. This was preceded by numerous weekends travelling between Exeter, Devon and the National Shooting Centre Bisley, Surrey for weeks of training with the rest of the U25 GB squad – it seemed like nothing was going to stop him, even when Bisley was covered in a thick blanket of snow during storm Emma in March 2018.
All the hard work lead up to flying out to NZ on 19th January, a quick pit-stop in Hong Kong and some well deserved down time in Taupo, NZ to relax before the important matches up ahead.
The wind conditions were particularly challenging, perhaps reflected in some of the scores attained at long range, with Jason scoring 50 v 2 and 48 v 1 at 900 yards, and 46 v 4 and 43 v 3 at 1000 yards (from a maximum 50 v 10), achieving the top long range score overall of 187 v 10. Jason being an incredible wind reader no doubt came in handy when shooting in these conditions.
Overall achieving 4th place in the individuals – the highest out of the U25 GB squad, led to Jason subsequently being picked for the U25 Team World Championship match that took place on Sunday 3rd February in Trentham, NZ. After gaining a significant amount of ground on the leading Australian team, at only 3 points behind at 1000 yards with only 2 shooters left, Jason and his team finished a respectable 10 points behind, scoring 965.87 out of a possible 1000.200, coming second place in the U25 World Championships overall.
Throughout all of these amazing achievements, people close to Jason will know that despite being a world-class shooter and an incredible wind coach, surpassing heights any experienced shooter his age would, he remains incredibly humble about his achievements and down to earth. The Exeter University Rifle Club congratulate him on all of his successes to date and on his achievements in the World Championships, and can’t wait to see where he goes from here in his shooting career.
Success! After minor logistical difficulties, the weekend finally came together! I think we can all agree we had a fantastic fullbore experience. Shoutout to Tom Hill, our fullbore captain, for conducting an overall very enjoyable weekend. The coaching, the socials, the fun guns…Thank you Tom for your terrific organisation – it has not gone unnoticed!
Us at the EURC would like to give a special HUGE thank you to Richard Stebbings at the BYSA for all his hard work helping us through our weekend and especially for his extremely generous kit donation. Stebbings, you recognised our club’s growing numbers and have contributed greatly to the accommodation of all our keen, new shooters. You new kit will also greatly improve access for left handed shooters and marksmen of smaller stature, meaning that our club can welcome even more shooters! Thank you so much.
Quotes from participants on the weekend:
Alex Spensley, 2nd year EURC member – “My highlight was definitely the fun guns, having missed them last year it was great to shoot something other than a target rifle! I would also like to thank Stebbings for his generosity with kit and lending us rifles for the weekend.”
Eleanor Graham, 1st year EURC member – “I always love going to Bisley, which like always was its own brand of charming (found somewhere between the early early morning starts and the smell of cordite on Century). It was a fantastic way to spend time with the team, and meeting members who had already graduated really put into perspective the legacy of shooters I’m now at the end of. It was a fantastic trip, and I’ll always look on it fondly as my first EURC Bisley – I’ll be sure to remember my anti-icing kit next time though!”
Jackie Chan, 3rd year EURC Committee – “Being in my third year and still being able to have an opportunity to travel with the Rifle Club has made my university life very exciting!”
This freshers’ week we are running a taster session competition with the chance of winning a £25 Amazon voucher or a Timepiece Gold Card – your choice! These prizes are only available to new prospective members – no committee or returning members can enter but by all means come along and shoot any way! In order to claim your prize you will need to purchase a full or termly membership.
When you arrive you’ll shoot the first round of the competition- five shots, and the smaller your grouping the better! You can shoot the second round when you join the club (around the 6th of October), and the smallest group size, on average, wins!
On Wednesday, 23rd May 2018, six members of our Committee attended the University’s AU Awards Ceremony at Reed Hall. Harry Percival, Olivia Haworth, Stephanie Chanter, Joel Burton-Lowe and Xavier Iafrate received Club Awards, while Jason Pepera-Hibbert (who was unable to attend due to training commitments) was awarded Club Colours. We are extremely proud that the Rifle Club was invited to the ceremony and it was an honour to represent the Club amongst some of Exeter’s top athletes.
We held our 2018 Annual General Meeting on Thursday, 15th March. The meeting was well-attended; it was great to see so many of our members taking an interest in the running of the Club and to have some friendly competition in the elections!
The AGM opened with a brief review of the year so far, and updates on some of the exciting new purchases the Club has made for the benefit of our members. We also outlined some of the changes that are taking place in the club, including our exciting move to Fonthill!
The final part of the meeting was the elections for next year’s Committee. Thank you to everyone who ran for a role – the speeches and manifestos delivered by everyone were full of interesting and carefully-considered ways to improve the club and it was encouraging to see how much thought had been put into them.
We are delighted to announce that the new Committee, to take over in July, will be as follows:
Captain: Nataša Pasternak
General Secretary: Steph Chanter
Treasurer: James Mac Taggart
Senior Advisor: Jason Pepera-Hibbert
Smallbore Captain: Danny Lay
Fullbore Captain: Tom Hill
Armourer: Alistair Sanford
Social Secretaries/Welfare: Louisa Collier & Chan Ka Chun Jackie
Publicity Secretary: Lulu Randall
Competitions Officer: Tom Blackburn
Range Officer: Ed Norman
Thanks again to everyone who attended last night and we look forward to another successful year.