In late June, at the beginning of Britain’s glorious heatwave, James Farquharson, sponsored by Pellpax, competed in the Welsh Open Championships at Tondu, South Wales.
James described Tondu Target Shooting Club, with its five outdoor ranges, as an idyllic location. He said, “The weather was lovely and warm, and there was always the pleasant sound of a stream running close by.”
Helping at UK Scouting
Shooting with his trusty Walther KK500 Expert, James came 5th in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions. In the 50m Rifle Prone event, he took fourth place in the final – the highest scoring junior. He also achieved a personal best score of 614.2.
A couple of weeks after his success in Tondu, James reprised his role of Range Officer at Gilwell 24. Gilwell Park, in London, is the home of UK Scouting, and this is the venue for Gilwell 24, one of the world’s biggest annual Scouting events. Over a period of 24 hours, Explorer Scouts (aged 14 to 17 inclusively) take part in a wide range of outdoor activities; James was one of the supervisors at the shooting range.
“It was a bit stressful,” James said, with a wry smile. “Especially supervising the use of pistols. Being shorter, they’re easier to wave around.”
A Desire to Nurture and Protect
One of James’s notable characteristics is his inclination to nurture and protect others. As a former mental health ambassador for his school, and with qualifications in advanced first-aid and water rescue techniques, this talented young target shooter is now heading for a career in medicine.
“I’d really like to study Paramedic Science at university,” James told me. “This course is approximately 50% theory and 50% placement. I enjoy practical learning.”
It’s been a very busy summer for James, so far. In July, he spent a week at St George’s and Kingston Hospitals, doing work experience, and was thrilled to be placed under the tuition of Parag Patel, a well-known and well-liked ENT consultant. Mr Patel, who performed a tonsillectomy on James a few years ago, was the winner of six medals in full-bore rifle at three consecutive Commonwealth Games.
I asked James if he and Mr Patel had discussed shooting at all, during their time together.
“We talked a bit about shooting,” James told me. “But what really made an impression on me was just how highly he was thought of. I was told countless times that Mr Patel was ‘a lovely guy’.”
You may be wondering where water rescue comes into James’s agenda. However, you won’t be surprised to learn that this young action man is a keen and skilful canoeist. James took up canoeing at 14 years old, as an Explorer Scout. (“Everything I do has been through Scouts.”)
Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
James chose canoeing for his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. I got the impression that the canoeing option came about by virtue of being the lesser of two evils! However, having discovered the joys of canoeing, James was keen to continue with the sport, and joined Kingston Scout Canoe Club.
When he was 16, there arose the opportunity of gaining the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award – again, through Explorer Scouts. Sadly, it looked as though the expedition would have to be cancelled, due to insufficient numbers. Not being a man to stand by and do nothing, James, along with his girlfriend, Niamh, and two other friends, took on the task of organising this event.
“The weather was good,” James told me, “apart from a period of severe thunder storms. We were holding metal paddles in water, but it never occurred to us that we should get out of the water!”
In order for the DofE expedition to go ahead, it was necessary for James to engage a supervisor, and he managed to procure the services of Nick Poole, the organiser of Search & Rescue in the South East of England. In payment for taking on the role of supervisor at the DofE expedition, Mr Poole accepted assistance from James and Niamh at Blenheim Palace, for BBC Countryfile Live. For this event, James did the British Canoeing Foundation Safety & Rescue training.
James’s next competition will be the Junior International at Bisley National Shooting Centre, in Surrey. This event takes place from Monday 6th August to Thursday 9th August.
To keep up to date with James Farquharson’s shooting activity, read the Pellpax blog and follow James on social media: