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It is my sad duty to advise you of the death of Roy Bickerstaffe after a short period of rapidly declining health.

I am assisting Pip and the Bickerstaffe family in advising those who will have known Roy.

I knew Roy for 49 years both as a fellow archer and professional railway colleague. We at Black Arrow were proud to have him as an honorary member but, in spirit at least, he probably had a similar status in many clubs around the country.

Roy started the 'Derby Carriage and Wagon Welfare Archery Section' in March 1965 (was this the longest archery club name ever?) and I joined later that year as a 12 year old.

Roy shot both target and field in those days and was very proficient in both, swapping with apparent ease between the classic 'Freestyle' and 'Heavy Tackle' as Hunting Tackle was originally known. I have a photo of Roy at full draw in later years and I believe it to be the most perfect example of longbow shooting style.

Roy involved himself in all aspects of the sport: administration, coaching and, of course, shooting.

In 1970 the BFAA merged with the EFAA and soon Field Archery as we had known it was changing and not for the best.  Roy with a few others decided that enough was enough and with the hindsight afforded by their experience of the BFAA and the benefits of a clean sheet of paper, founded the NFAS in 1973. This gave field archers the wonderful opportunity to again engage with the sport as they wanted.  True, the NFAS migrated down a path they may have strayed somewhat from Roy's vision but there is not a single true field archer that does not owe Roy and his band of merry men and women a debt of gratitude for what we all enjoy today.

Roy could talk for hours on a wide range of subjects and frequently did and there are many who have missed appointments, meals, loved ones and sleep as they tried without success to prompt an end to the dialogue or rather, monologue.  But one thing is for sure....that all who benefited from time with Roy was the richer for it.

I should be grateful if you could advise AFAC clubs and use as much or little of the above in doing so as you think fit.

Kind regards Kevin




logoThe AFAC or The Association of Field Archery Clubs. To be a Member of the Association you must be a club with its own insurance and put on at least one open shoot per year for the benefit of the other clubs in the association. We, the AFAC are not interested in international competition we want it as a family sport but likewise we do not stop clubs or individuals wishing to compete in international competition, we all have a choice in what we do. The clubs follow similar shooting rules, styles and shooting equipment (see Shooting Styles) on the lines of other field archery societies as the se are fairly common rules amongst the other societies.

What is Field Archery ?. it is simulated hunting with the bow and arrow, since its inception in 1939 field archery has evolved into a world class sport yet on the club level it can offer individuals or whole families leisure pastime for young and old alike. It is a woodland sport, with targets set out over a challenging terrain and shot from a variety of distances from 5 to 60 yards plus which can vary from flat, uphill to downhill shots.

Field archery has been called “golf in the forest” an apt description for it is shot by groups of archers, shooting 18 or 36 targets which can be paper faces on bosses or three dimensional realistic foam targets of animals such as bears, mountain lions, crocodiles or wild turkeys etc. To simulate hunting even more all the distances are unmarked so one must estimate the distance as with hunting situations and scoring areas on the targets let you know if the shot was a good one or not.


Field archery is a sport for all the family from 7 to 70 plus, physical strength is not important as bows come in different strengths and different designs so all ages and strengths can have a go and compete on equal terms. Besides the shooting aspect it is excellent exercise walking around in some of the most beautiful scenery in the Kingdom where you will see nature in all its glory and with the lack of noise you will hear all of natures wonderful sounds.


Just to re-assure you Hunting with any type of Bow and Arrow is illegal in Britain. If you wish to give Field Archery a try please contact one of the clubs listed they all carry insurance to cover you and you will find that we are very helpful and obliging.


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