This issue of “Who Am I?” Features Karen from custom mats and hides. This article highlights the benefits to the UK economy shooting brings by way various small business enterprises that are created. It also shows the important charity work that many firearms enthusiasts take part in through shooting sports which raises significant sums of money for very worthy causes each year.
Tell us about yourself?
My name’s Karen, I’m 47 years of age and I hadn’t shot a rifle in my life until ten years ago.
I’m self-employed and run my own shooting accessory business with my husband, which we started 3 years ago, making bespoke, shooting mats, bean bags, rifle bags etc. This was started off the back of our air rifle club that we run together too. We live in Rayleigh, Essex and our shooting club is not far from home in Rochford, Essex.
How did you get into shooting?
I first had a go at shooting, when my husband joined a very small club with my eldest son when he turned 8 and showed a keen interest in air rifles. I used to go and watch them for a short while but one day decided that I might like to have a go and never looked back since I got the shooting bug.
After a while my husband became more involved in the running of this small club when the organiser took ill, he thoroughly enjoyed it, but as it was only shooting air rifles in a small field, he decided to look for a wood locally to perhaps expand the club and make it more varied. We approached a local land owner who had a private 3 acre wood. That is when Rochford air gun club started.
We shoot every other Sunday and have 60 members. At each shoot, we introduce new people to the world of air rifle shooting.
We also like to organise shoots for charity 2 years ago we organised a competition with all proceeds going to Essex Air Ambulance, we had 80+ Shooters on the day and raised £660. As this was successful, we have now organised a much bigger event in aid of Help for Heroes and Essex Air Ambulance, which will take place in a 47 acre wood on July 13th. All proceeds will be split between the two charities.
What other forms of shooting are you interested in?
If I didn’t shoot air rifles, I would probably take up clay shooting. A friend of ours took us out to his local club for the day and we found it very enjoyable and very challenging.
How important is shooting to you?
Shooting is a very important part of our lives socially and work wise, our business Custom Sporting Mats & Hides, has expanded mainly through word of mouth and the internet, but running a club has played a very big part on what we make and sell.
(Some of Karen’s products)
What has been your best shooting experience so far?
The best shooting experience so far has been running our own club, it’s been a learning curve like most things. Providing a safe, relaxing, picturesque environment for people to come and have a lovely days shoot and go home with a smile on their face is the most rewarding feeling ever.
What other hobbies/interests do you have?
I have had other hobbies such as horse riding and ten pin bowling but running our own business and club doesn’t leave much time for anything else.
I would like to see in the future, more shooting categories brought back to this country so that it is easier for competitors to pursue the sports we love, without having to go abroad to practice before big events.
To find out more about Rochford Gun Club please visit https://www.rochfordac.co.uk/
If you are interested in your own custom mat please visit Karen’s webpage at https://www.customsportingmatsandhides.co.uk/
Karen also mentioned she would like to see more shooting categories brought back to the UK and within the reach of ordinary UK citizens. Firearms UK is currently petitioning HM Government for the return of .22
pistols to section 1 to allow the internationally recognised sport of target shooting to flourish once more.
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