A welcome visitor to the 'Insport' Disability Sport Festival at Haverfordwest Leisure Centre recently was John Lloyd, who was helping out at the Modern Print Inclusive Target Shooting Club stand with a view to promoting not only target shooting but also the new concept of 10 metre target Sport Crossbow.

John was able to join Ron Hovell in putting their vast experience to good effect because he is a long-serving exponent of target shooting, is a Director of the National Small Bore Rifle Association and is Chairman of the committee with responsibility for promoting the engagement of disabled people of all ages, either physical or visual, in target pistol, airgun and Sport Crossbow.

To that end, John regularly writes articles in magazines like 'On Target' (his latest was on an 'Introduction to Sport Crossbow' in the Spring 2017 edition) and now that he is back living in his home town of Pembroke Dock, which he left some 50 years ago to pursue his career as a civil engineer, travels to many major events to put his extensive organisational experience to good effect.

A measure of the regard in which he is held can be gauged from the fact that he was a member of the NSRA support team for the shooting competitions at the London Olympic Games, which took place at Woolwich in 2012.

"It was a wonderful experience because I was able to watch some of the events, including the clay pigeon shooting," John said, "and there were long days at the ranges where competitions went on all day for a couple of weeks.

 "My role was in assisting in organising the ammunition for many of the shooting events and the security was understandably high and there were police aplenty around Woolwich, although the whole of the range complex and surrounding area was in the domain of the International Olympic Committee."

John's first experience with firearms came in the late 50s when he became a Sea Scout  in Pembroke Dock under the guidance of the late Sandy 'Skip' Buttle, who arranged for his young charges to fire .303 rifles on the range in the Dockyard.

"There was a very big recoil from those weapons and when I first fired one I really thought I had put my shoulder out," admitted John with a chuckle!

Then when John was working in the Midlands a colleague mentioned that he was a member of the Stourport-on-Severn Shooting Club and invited him along, and John took to it straight away for the six months before his work took him to Redditch and Scotland.

"We settled in Blackburn, initially for 18 months but we stayed for 36 years," said John, "and I had a wonderful time with the local shooting club, where I was honoured with life membership before I left.

"It was during my time there that I got involved with the NSRA training programme as I attended a number of training courses  and qualified initially as Range Conducting Officer before graduating to Club Instructor, Club Coach and then County Coach after some rigorous testing to check I was suitable for these roles."

As well as being involved with coaching and administration, John has also taken part in competitions and was twice chosen to represent Great Britain, against America, South Africa, Canada and Australia - and was delighted to come away with silver and bronze medals.

"In ‘Free Pistol’ I had a best score of 90 and needed to average 85 to stay in contention so there was plenty of tension during our time on the range," John told us.

Since then he has also served as team captain for the event, which is known as the Mayleigh Match, and now held at Bisley in September, over a 50-metre range for all the top marksmen. - and is Match Director  for the British Pistol Championships.

In 2012 the GB team fended off the strong challenge of the Americans to win the coveted Mayleigh team gold medal

Then John and his wife Lynda returned to Pembrokeshire last year but he still travels to Bisley for one weekend a month and is quick to thank her for her 'long-suffering support' over many years, including the present moment, where she travels with him and makes sure she is accompanied by a good book to read1

Since returning home John has also joined the Haverfordwest Target Shooting Club and is involved with John Munt of HTSC. John Lloyd’s shooting interests include match air pistol, free pistol and black powder disciplines in percussion, flintlock and matchlock.

As well as his own shooting involvement, John has also got involved with Ron Hovell at the Modern Print Target Shooting Club in Kilgetty and also with Phil Jackson at the Kilgetty 177 Club at the same venue, where Kilgetty 177 are beginning to get the sport cross-bow shooting up and running.  John is also assisting Pembrokeshire Scouts to set up an airgun and Sport Crossbow range in Milford Haven.

He is still very busy 'up the line' as he was Match Director at the British Open Airgun Shoot in February at Bisley and in early August will welcome young people from all over the world for the Junior International at Bisley, with competitors from the Home Countries are  joined by others as from as far afield as the USA, Denmark, South Africa and Lithuania, to name but a few.

Then in September he will face another 500-mile round trip to Bisley for the British Pistol Championships.

"My sport certainly keeps me busy!" admits John, "and I am lucky to be still so involved."

We believe that there is more than good fortune to John Lloyd being held in such high regard as he has been awarded a rare Gold Medal by the NSRA for ‘services to target shooting’.   It is marvellous that he is back in his home county, utilising his wealth of experience to good effect - and we wish him many more years of involvement in a sport he so clearly graces!