Shooting club with plans to become UK’s first regional training centre aims for new base

Carole Darnell, front left, CEO and head coach, who is appealing for help to find new premises for t

Carole Darnell, front left, CEO and head coach, who is appealing for help to find new premises for the South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club. There is very little room for the members in the firing range, particularly when there are any wheelchairs. From left, newcomer Paul Gaul; Carole; Merle Darnell, range officer; Mikla Frere; and newcomer Leanne Lim-Walker. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

For the past four years they have given people with and without disabilities the chance to experience the thrill of sports shooting.

The South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club members are appealing for help to find new premises as t

The South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club members are appealing for help to find new premises as there is very little room for the members in the firing range, particularly when there are any wheelchairs. From left, newcomer Leanne Lim-Walker; Mikla Frere; Merle Darnell, range officer; and newcomer, Paul Gaul. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

And now the South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club is on the search for a new base that will allow it to become a regional training centre with national accreditation.

The Attleborough-based group, also known as ShootAbility Norfolk, is hoping to find a building measuring at least 20m by 20m, which would allow it to move from its current site on the Maurice Gaymer Estate.

Carole Darnell, the club's head coach, said: 'Our current location has served us well for the past four years but now we have outgrown it.

'To continue building our membership we need to move.

The South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club members are appealing for help to find new premises as t

The South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club members are appealing for help to find new premises as there is very little room for the members in the firing range, particularly when there are any wheelchairs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

'I don't like turning people away but have had to do so, more often recently, due to lack of space.'

Mrs Darnell said a new location would allow them to create a 'first-class facility' supported by Active Norfolk and Disability Shooting Great Britain, and gain national sports grant funding, opening up pathways for shooters to train for the Olympics and Paralympics.

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She said: 'This whole project is really exciting and will be great for the county especially when we hold national competitions.

'We have a lot of plans for this new training centre to live up to the title of the UK's first regional training centre for para sport shooting - with links to the able-bodied Olympic pathway too.'

The South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club members are appealing for help to find new premises as t

The South Norfolk Air Rifle and Pistol Club members are appealing for help to find new premises as there is very little room for the members in the firing range, particularly when there are any wheelchairs. From left, newcomer Leanne Lim-Walker; Mikla Frere; Merle Darnell, range officer; and newcomer, Paul Gaul. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

The club is open to adults and children - its current youngest member is 12 and the oldest is 80.

Mrs Darnell said: 'I originally opened the club for disabled people as there were no clubs in Norfolk that had wheelchair access, we now have as many, if not more, able bodied shooters, most of which are friends or relatives of disabled shooters.'

Mrs Darnell said they were open to moving anywhere along the A11 corridor between Wymondham and Snetterton, as members travelled from as far away as Wisbech and Great Yarmouth.

She said: 'The grant we are getting will not cover rent - just refurbishment, but we are willing to talk to the land owner about this to work out an agreement that would suit us both.'

For more information contact Mrs Darnell on 01362 858544 or email shootabilitynfk@btinternet.com

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