This month, our writer Hazel Randall spoke to Femme Fatales, a clay shooting community with a difference…..
Delving into the world-wide-web for information about ‘Femmes Fatales’, I came face to face with gentlemen’s magazines, rock bands, and some sort of cult; at one point I found myself on an ‘Asian girls dating site’. And then: bingo! I was looking at a group of smiling, fresh-faced women (fully clothed) – all toting guns.
Femmes Fatales is an online community for women clay shooters. The group was founded two years ago by Lydia Abdelaoui and Rachel Carrie. Unashamedly feminine, the Femmes Fatales state on their website’s homepage that they “have a love for high heels and lipstick, but also like the smell of gun oil and aren’t afraid to get their boots muddy.”
Employed by an ammunition producer, Lydia felt that she should have a go at shooting in order to understand a bit more about the world she was working in. She took to the sport like a duck to water, and continued to shoot regularly. On the circuit, Lydia met Rachel, and together they conceived the idea of an online community for women shooters, providing an opportunity for all women to take up the sport in a safe, relaxed environment.
Members of Femmes Fatales take it in turns to organise shooting events around the UK. On Saturday November 5th, 35-year-old Chiara King will be hosting her first FF event at Orston Shooting Ground, Nottinghamshire. Chiara told me a bit about a typical FF shooting event.
“If you’re a beginner, or if you’ve never even held a gun before, there’s equipment available for you to use: you don’t have to own your own gun or bring ammunition. There are also well-qualified instructors, to coach beginners.” Chiara added, “But these events aren’t just for novices; we get a lot of world-class shots competing too.”
Competitors at the Femmes Fatales Cup in April this year included the current British Open Ladies champion, Hannah Gibson, and England team representative, Alexandra Skeggs, who won the competition.
The headline sponsor was clothing label, Holland Cooper, who provided the top prize: a beautiful Gold Label fur cape worth £1,000. The idea of the Femmes Fatales Cup – held annually at The Royal Berkshire Shooting School – is to bring together experienced lady clay shots, novices, and complete beginners at one event to celebrate women in shooting sports.
I asked Chiara about her own shooting background and her introduction to Femmes Fatales.
“I’ve been shooting for five years; my first time was when I went along to a ‘have-a-go’ clay night with my sister. I was living in Sheffield at that time, but after moving to Pocklington in East Yorkshire, I didn’t shoot for a while. Then I attended a couple of Femmes Fatales events, had a brilliant time, and got right back into shooting. I got to know lots of people and made new friends.”
The next FF event will be on Saturday, 29th October at Bywell Shooting Ground in Felton, Northumberland, hosted by Laura Appleby. No experience is required to take part in the day, and all instruction, clays, safety wear, ear defenders and equipment will be provided. Experienced shots are welcome to bring their own shotgun and shotgun cartridges if they wish.
The Femmes Fatales Cup returns to The Royal Berkshire Shooting School on Saturday 29th April 2017.
I asked Lydia about plans for the future.
“We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. What we’ve achieved in two years has far exceeded our expectations – we’re just taking each day as it comes, making the most of every opportunity we’re given, and having fun!”
Find out more about the Orston Shooting Ground at http://www.orston.com