Club History

The archery club was originally formed in late 1968 as Bangor Bowmen. The founder members were Roy and Carol Bestwick.

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Gwynedd Bowmen ‘Sheep Shoot’ 1974  
The club’s headquarters was the Fish & Chip shop run by Roy and Carol on the High Street in Bangor, North Wales. Roy held the position of Chairman and Carol has Honorary Secretary and Howard as Treasurer. Roy’s brother Fred joined the club later along with Herman Grey.    The clubs first shooting ground was at Bangor Rugby Club’s playing fields which have since been converted to a car park as part of
Tesco’s contribution to progress.

Early competitions were Field Shoots at Llanwrst with Bowmen of Gwydir led by Charles Milward and Clout Shoots at St Davids College near Llandudno. Roy coached the University College of North Wales students, in their sports hall during the winter months with club members also attending.

The club’s name was changed to Gwynedd Bowmen following permission to use the arms of Owain Gwynedd, “A Fesse Vert charged with three Eagles” as the club badge. The three Eagles – Gold upon Green – were the arms of the former great native Prince of Wales who was closely linked with Snowdonia, the Citadel of Caernarvonshire. Owain Gwynedd was buried in Bangor Cathedral in 1170 following a reign of 33 years.The three Eagles were also emblazoned on the banners bourne by the men of Caernarvonshire at the battle of Agincourt as is related by historian Michael Drayton.
                                       
  “ Those of Caernarvon (not the least in speed.
T
ho’ marching last in the army’s face)

Three Golden Eagles in their ensign brought,
Under which oft brave Owen Gwyneth faught”

The club was inactive from about 1973 until 1986 when it was reformed with new members and was able to secure a shooting ground at the Vaynol Arms in Pentir. Roy Bestwick was again Chairman with Pearl Mathers taking the role of Secretary, Joan Davies that of Treasurer and Nigel Mathers that of Records Officer.Club meetings were again held at Roy’s “chippy” and competitions and practice took place at the Vaynol Arms with the occasional barbeque behind the inn. Indoor shooting again took place alongside the UCNW Archery Club in the University Hall on Fridays and the University indoor
Rifle Range on Sunday mornings. The club was to again suffer problems with the shooting field which was let for grazing! Membership started to drop away (many came from the Holyhead area and the distance to travel to shoot was too great with about a 40 mile round trip). Indoor shooting continued in the sports hall and rifle range at the UCNW but membership continued to decline.

By 1987 only Nigel, Pearl and Richard Mathers remained, fortunately sufficient members to keep the club alive. In 1989 Richard and Nigel were asked to demonstrate Archery to some members of what was Benllech Country Club and were able to generate some interest in Archery, and began shooting there regularly. Gerry Marsden, of “Gerry and the Pacemaker’s” fame who was part owner of the Country Club and had a house locally showed interest in the sport and was coached by Nigel Mathers. Membership increased with people passing by and seeing the targets, showing an interest and eventually joining the club.
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Roy, Fred and Dave Gwynedd Bowmen

By 1991 the club had about 15 members and indoor shooting started in the Benllech Ex-Serviceman’s Community Hall on a Friday evening. Indoorcompetitions were held in either Beaumaris Leisure Centre or Canolfan Amlwch on Saturday afternoons. In 1994 the club’s outdoor venue changed yet again with a move to Llangefni Rugby Club with its obvious benefits of space and central location. The indoor venue remained atthe Ex-Servicemen’s Hall in Benllech until 2000 when refurbishment works left them temporarily of no fixed abode. Pentraeth Primary School provided temporary accommodation for a short spell before moving to the Scouts Hut in Llangefni which was farfrom perfect as the shooting distance was barely 10 metres but in it’s favour it was central, available and cheap. Club funds continued to beaugmented by income from “Have-a-Go’s” which also led to an increase in membership.

The club continued to grow and prosper andby the end of 2001 had approximately 30 members and was very active on the North Wales competition circuit. We also had two juniormembers in the Welsh Archery Squad and regularly supplied team  members to the North Wales Archery Society for County matches.  In late 2002 the club entered into negotiations for the possible use of one of the sheds on the Anglesey Showground at Mona. Negotiations Were successful and 2003 saw this become our regular venue for indoor shooting. The opportunity to shoot a standard competition distance of 20 yards every club night showed a remarkable increase  in the standard of the clubs archery and the acres of space made the  club nights a pleasure.

We have maintained a link with the past as Nigel Mathers is still with us and actively committed to the sport of archery. Nigel served the  club in the capacity of Secretary until the end of 2002 when he retired from that post and became our Records Officer. Obviously without his invaluable input the early part of the clubs history could not have been written.

The club continued to shoot every Monday at the Mona sheds until January 2009, were the club yet again entered negotiations to secure an indoor venue at Bodedern School on Anglesey. With negotiations being completed by the end of January 2009, saw the last shoot at Mona on  Monday 12th January. The club then moved to Bodedern, this venue provided two facilities, a separate facility for beginners classes and a larger facility for club shoots providing a competition distance of 20 yards, sufficient room for 8 targets and a warm common room for meetings and  socialising. The club continues to retain the outdoor facility at Llangefni Rugby Club.  By the end of 2009 the club had approximately 40 members and is very active in the North Wales competitions.

Successes

In 2005, Gwynedd Bowman Rhys Jones represented Ynys Mon at the Nat West Island Games on the Shetland Isles winning the Gold for the Single FITA Men’s Recurve, he repeated his success by winning the Gold again for the Single FITA Men’s Recurve on the Isle of Rhodes in 2007.  Gwynedd Bowmen continues to support the sport of archery by representing Ynys Mon at these games.