SAM_0452Sports minister Helen Grant showed her support for National Shooting Week (24-31 May) with a visit to West Kent Shooting School on Friday (30 May).

Ms Grant, who is minister for sport, tourism and equalities, visited the ground in Brenchley,Tonbridge for her first experience of the Olympic sport of clay pigeon shooting. 

Organised by the Countryside Alliance with the backing of the British Shooting Sports Council, National Shooting Week’s aims are to enable anyone to try shooting for the first time and to promote respect for and understanding of legal firearms and airguns.

The week offers target and clay pigeon shooting, often at special discounted rates, but does not feature live quarry. Around 60 shooting grounds around the country took part in this year’s event – the seventh.

Ms Grant said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my first taste of clay pigeon shooting and it increased my appreciation for the skill of our elite athletes who will be competing for the British nations at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

“Target shooting is a great sport, that’s good fun and allows women and men to compete on an equal footing. It also supports a large number of rural businesses across the countryside. I believe National Shooting Week is a very important event and I am delighted to give it my support.”

Countryside Alliance regional director Michelle Nudds added: “It is very good news that we have a sports minister championing shooting, a sport in which many women take part and excel. It is very important to encourage more women and young people to take up shooting and with the minister’s support we hope to do so.”