Welcome to this months copy of The Bulletin, the first edition with a new ‘editor’.  I would like to start by saying it has been a huge honour for me to join the team here at The Royal Berkshire and to take over from Dylan Williams.  We, all of us, owe Dylan a huge “thank you” for all that he has done for the RBSS over the last three decades.  His passion, innovation and sense of fun enabled Dylan to create a world class shooting school with a world class team.  Thank you Dylan and we look forward to seeing you back here and around the country in your role working with Purdey and The Royal Berkshire.

So what now?  With the Grouse season under way (a steady season so far with regrettable but prudent cancellations for a number of moors) the RB team are gearing up for the end of the summer and a busy Game Season.  September is always a fun and busy month and this year is no different.  We are looking forward to hosting a record ten charity events with many familiar faces set to return and help their chosen charities raise as much funds as possible.  Similarly the instructors, having made the final tweaks to the grounds, are looking forward to welcoming exciting and new clients to the grounds for their lessons.  It is on the topic of pre-season practice that I want to focus.

Having grown up in North Wales on the Island of Anglesey, I have been lucky enough to have worked in the shooting world for nearly 20 years, the last five of these with Purdey as Head of Sales.  During this time I have seen the sport of shooting enjoy an unprecedented growth in popularity.  Whether it be clay or game shooting, the sport we all love and enjoy  has become  more accessible than ever.  This is wonderful news and should be celebrated.  But I do feel we all need to do ‘our bit’ to safeguard the future of the sport.  For me, being a safe and competent shot lies at the heart of such a ‘duty’.  It is vital that everybody who stands on a peg, carries a gun on a walked up day, sits in a pigeon hide or calls pull on clay shoot, knows how to shoot.   Having a sound technique and confidence in your safety will give you confidence and it is confidence that will allow you to relax, shoot well and enjoy your day. Sounds simple… so why then do we so often see people walking away from a drive berating themselves for shooting ‘so badly’. But…ask them if they had had a quick lesson before the season and too often the answer is no!  Yet if they had gone to play golf they would have hit some balls on the driving range, gone skiing they would have been to the gym to get fit.  So what is the point I am making?  It is this, you owe to your host, the team on a shoot day, yourself and crucially to your quarry to be as well prepared as possible for the season.  So, with that in mind, please practice before the first drive. Whether it be a lesson or a caddied round, please do practice.

Of course it is not just you that needs to be prepared.  You also need to check your kit. Does your jacket fit, do you have batteries for your headphones (can you find your headphones), do you have cartridges and is your gun working?  Don’t go to the cabinet and cupboard the night before and find your are missing the vital bit of kit. Instead pop along to see the team in the Gun Room and let them help you get fully prepared for the first day.

It remains for me to wish you, on the behalf of the whole team,  a very happy end to the summer and a safe and memorable start to the season.