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New shooting club opens for blind in Bangor

A NEW shooting club has hit the mark with blind people in Gwynedd.
A NEW shooting club has hit the mark with blind people in Gwynedd.

The club – which allows blind and visually-impaired people to shoot pellets at a target using an air rifle aided by acoustics – was officially launched in Bangor at the weekend.

The club has bought two specialist air rifles at a cost of nearly £900 each with each one having acoustic sights costing £750.

Supported by the Sports Council for Wales, Gwynedd Council and North Wales Society for the Blind, the club is the first of its kind in North Wales.

It is based at the North Wales Society for the Blind’s courtyard in Bangor.

Ken Nash, 62, from Hertfordshire, vice chairman of the National Small Bore Rifle Association, said the targets were set a standard 10 metres away from the 177 rifles.

He said: “The clever bit is the sight on top of the rifle. It reflects lights and converts it into sound which the shooter hears from headphones. The closer they aim at the centre of the target, the more light equals the higher frequency sound.”

Each blind shooter is helped by a trained guide on a one-to-one basis.

The club was formed after a taster-session in July when around 30 people showed an interest.

There are around 3,000 visually-impaired people across North Wales.

The hope is now to set up a league championship and compete against other clubs.

If any of the shooters show promise they could well compete on an international level.

Gwynedd Disability Sport Wales development officer Marcus Politis, 39, has previously helped organise walks up Snowdon and sailing on the Menai Strait for visually-impaired people.

He said: “Our aim is to provide a range of activities within the county so that there is something on offer to suit the needs and interests of everyone. Following a popular taster session held recently, we certainly hope that the new target shooting club – the first of its kind in north Wales – will prove a popular activity.”

North Wales Society for the Blind’s Steven Thomas, 31, said: “It’s happened because people said they enjoyed it and wanted to do it on a regular basis. We are now aiming to set up a postal league where results will be verified.”

Sharpshooter Barry Hathaway, 55, from Amlwch, Anglesey, who is visually-impaired, said: “It’s very good. Nothing is impossible – as long as you get the right people. I’m hoping it will be open every day.”
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