It was Medieval Midhurst that gave photographer Michael Chevis another string to his bow.
The organiser of the popular and growing tourist event got hooked on the sport after having a go the first year.
He enjoyed it so much he trained as an instructor and now has fulfilled his ambition to open his own archery club in the town.
Leaping Hart Archery takes its name from Queen Elizabeth I’s visit when she stayed at Cowdray, hunted in the park and she shot a dear.
The club has now started meeting at Midhurst Rother College, on Tuesdays from 7pm-9pm.
Some 20 people turned out for the first meeting: “We started with a brief history of the bow from longbow and recurve through to compound, and talked about choosing arrows,” said Michael.
“The students were then let loose to practice under the guidance and instruction from me and my colleagues Chris Sheldrake and Paul.”
All of the equipment is supplied by Leaping Hart, but once a student has completed the introduction course they are advised to buy their own equipment tailored to their own strengths and requirements.
“When the clocks change and the evenings get longer we will meet twice a week outside, when the targets will be up to 80 yards away,” said Michael.
“My aim is to grow Leaping Hart Archery into a large friendly centre of archery in and around the Midhurst area. I am looking for an area of land where we can have a club for 24/7 archery, and am also in discussion to hold an archery tournament in the grounds of Cowdray ruins at the end of the year.”
A professional photographer who has run a photography studio in Midhurst for many years, Michael told The Observer: “It is always good to have something challenging that is different. Whatever age or gender, or disability you might have, archery is an all inclusive sport you can really involve yourself in. It is all about improving your technique, and if you want to enter competitions there are handicap systems meaning you all start evenly.”
Anyone looking for a new year challenge, or experienced archers wanting to join the club should contact him on 07734 982525 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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