Bob Aitken Service to Shooting Award

Bob Aitken

the Award

Following Bob Aitken’s death in October 2016, Scottish Target Shooting wanted to recognise the fantastic contribution which Bob made to the sport of Target Shooting in both Scotland and further afield. We have decided that a fitting celebration of Bob’s contribution to Target Shooting in Scotland would be to have an award in his name – the Bob Aitken Service to Shooting Award – in recognition of people who have served the sport over a number of years, just as Bob did.  We feel that this is a fitting way of remembering all Bob has done for our sport on a yearly basis and using this to also recognise the service of others.  The first presentation of the award was made in 2017. 

About Bob

Bob came to Edinburgh after a military career, he worked in Insurance for the Royal Bank and set about using his considerable administrative and leadership skills to the benefit of Scottish shooting. After leaving the Royal Bank, Bob was General Secretary of the Scottish Sports Association for over 10 years and it was entirely appropriate when he won the 1999 Scottish Sports Council award for Scottish Volunteer of the Year across all sports, beating Jim Telfer of rugby fame.

At club level, he was the East of Scotland Rifle club. He was Captain and Secretary for over 40 years. He negotiated tirelessly with police and military to retain target shooting for club members at Dreghorn and latterly Castlelaw Ranges to the south of Edinburgh. He produced rifles and ammunition for every evening shoot and his energy level was enormous. Every year he ran an open championship in September - most recently on the electronic targets of Blair Atholl range.

Bob was particularly supportive of young shooters and his advice and humour assisted many in the sport over the years – his immense pride at those who went on to represent county or country at the highest levels of competition was reward enough.

Passionate about all sports, Bob had been active in 5 favoured sports over time - athletics, football, hockey and basketball and only latterly target shooting.

Bob was a fine shot in his own right. He captained Scotland for 6 years, represented Scotland in the National Match on 26 occasions and in the MacKinnon on 21. He was a member of numerous Scottish teams touring abroad and he had an affinity with Canada and British Columbia. He was made a Vice President of the NRA and he captained a Great Britain team which toured to New Zealand in 2003 where he enjoyed some of his best competitive shooting - winning the Veterans gold medal and coming 4th overall. An experienced team coach – he loved to tell the story of how he started coaching in 1979 with his United Banks team in a long-range match at Bisley. The others were all smallbore shooters. They had one rifle between them - Bob's trusty P14. He scored a healthy 68 ex 75 but then coached the others to scores of 75, 75, 74, 73 and 72. His success was observed by the captain of the following year's Great Britain team to Canada and the next thing he knew has was on that Great Britain team as a coach!

But it was on the Scottish National target shooting scene that he most excelled. He was a founder member in 1965 of the Scottish Shooting Council which combined all the disciplines of target shooting for the first time. He was appointed the Target Shooting Facilities manager for the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and worked tirelessly to find a suitable venue for the small-bore events.

During the Games he was travelling 200 miles a day between Barry Buddon for full-bore rifle; Kippen for shotgun and Musselburgh racecourse for the smallbore events. One of the teams turned up with a very large container which required a fork lift truck to move it. Inside were neatly packed pistols and a very large quantity of beer. The team withdrew because of apartheid issues but only the pistols got home.

Bob was a strong supporter of Commonwealth Games shooting and embraced the opportunity that it gave for the smaller countries to compete against the larger nation’s athletes on a level range. He twice went to the Commonwealth Games as part of the Scottish team management – including the 1994 games in Victoria, where the Scottish shooting team won a record 7 medals. Later, judging roles in the Manchester, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne Games kept him on the move.

He was Chair of the Scottish Shooting Council/Scottish Target Shooting Federation between 1987 and 1995 and worked hard with all the disciplines - promoting strongly the ideal of a combined range for all target shooting disciplines. It is a matter of regret for his many Scottish shooting friends that this wish is only now in 2017 possibly about to become reality.

Bob is survived by the ever-supportive Margaret, a well-known figure to many at Bisley, and the five children of whom he was always immensely proud - Alan, Alison, Carol, Colin and David, all of whom enjoyed life with Bob on the ranges over the years.

Winner 2019 - Willie McAulay

 Willie has always put the needs of the club and shooting before all else including his personal life. He has served as Treasurer and Secretary of Alloa & District Rifle Club for 30 years, he coaches both the rifle and air weapon shooters and in recent years, working with STS, he has been leading the way with disabled shooting working with the spinal injury unit at the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, coaching those with spinal injuries, and resulting in some of them taking up the sport when leaving hospital. On the back of this involvement, Willie has also been coaching the dwarf shooters that visit the range monthly for training and have had considerable success at their competitions they attend.

Willie shows a never-ending passion for the sport and has done a lot to help young people in and around Clackmannanshire and Alloa (and further afield!), working with different Scout groups to help them achieve their badges and have a go at the sport.

Willie is not only confined to the premises of the club, he was a big help to STS when running a session on Princes Street during the Rio Olympics and much more recently, he is also now working with Sports Development team in Clackmannanshire to get out into the local community and introduce the sport to people yet to give it a go.

He will be the first to admit that his shooting has declined because he doesn’t have the time but gets a lot of satisfaction from helping others. In addition to his numerous shooting trophies over the years, his tireless efforts have resulted in him winning services to sport awards from SALSC and the local area for all he does for shooting, but also sport in the area.

As his own club members say: “I don’t know how he manages it all but I don’t know anybody else that puts as much into shooting as Willie does.”

A truly deserving winner for everything he does for grassroots shooting and Alloa and District Rifle Club, the 2019 recipient of the Bob Aitken Service to Shooting Award is Willie McAulay.

Winner 2018 - Donald McIntosh

Donald McIntosh is a true great in the world of shooting, with medal success as an international competitor for Scotland and now a renowned coach of athletes involved at Commonwealth, World and Olympic level.

Donald has been involved in this sport for nearly 40 years taking up shooting in 1978 and becoming a prominent member of EU Rifle Club while at the University of Edinburgh, gaining a Half-Blue in 1986/87 and a Full Blue in 1987/88. In 1988 he won the British Universities’ 3P Individual Championship. He later helped to form the EU Alumni Rifle Club.

He won his first international cap in 1989 and went on to be capped 59 times in his competitive career, ranking him 7th in the all-time list of Scottish caps.

He represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Championships in 1997, 1999 and 2001 as well as the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. At the Commonwealth Championships in 1999 and again in 2001, he was a Gold medallist in the 50m Rifle 3P Pairs event. He has also been the Scottish Champion in 10m Air Rifle, 50m 3P, and 50m Prone events. Donald was inducted into the Scottish Smallbore Rifle Hall of Fame in 2007 in recognition of his shooting performances. However, this is where Donald’s story starts rather than ends.

Following his competitive career, he began coaching in 2003 and is now a pre-eminent force in the success of Scottish and British shooting. Athletes with whom he has worked have won numerous medals at the European Championships, the U21 World Championships, World Cups, the Commonwealth Championships and the Commonwealth Games.

He was a coach for Team GB at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games and Team Manager for Scotland’s shooters at the Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. He has also been the Shooting Performance Manager for twelve years and, over the course of the last three Commonwealth Games, has been responsible for nineteen medals for Scotland in shooting. There is no doubt that over the time Donald has been involved in the programme, athletes in the sport of shooting are now better funded and better supported than ever before, and it is largely thanks to all his hard work and dedication.

Donald has always seen his roles representing Scotland, whether as an athlete or behind the scenes, as a privilege and his desire to see Scotland medal on the world stage is not just driven by a professional desire to succeed, but a deep routed pride and passion for his country.

However, clearly one of Donald (and his wife Shirley’s) greatest and proudest achievements are their daughters, Jennifer and Seonaid. They have followed Donald and Shirley into the sport and have been coached by Donald with great success. In 2014, Jennifer succeeded her mum Shirley as Scotland’s most decorated Commonwealth Games athlete with a total of 5 medals. Not to be left behind, Seonaid has followed suit and at the recent Games in the Gold Coast, she came home with two bronze medals to open her Commonwealth Games medal account. In 2017 they came home with three Gold medals between them from the 2017 European Championships in the 3P, Prone and Team Rifle competitions, a first for Scotland.

At the end of April, Donald is stepping down as the Performance Programme Manager having guided Scotland’s shooters through twelve incredible years and a further six medals at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast. Shooting is in Donald’s blood and there is no doubt he will still be involved in the sport in some capacity but we felt this was a suitable time to recognise all Donald has done for the sport, both in Scotland and on the world stage by presenting him with the Bob Aitken Service to Shooting Award in 2018.

Winner 2017 - Colin McEachran

Colin’s involvement in shooting began over 50 years ago at Glenalmond College and continue at Oxford University where he shot in the Chancellors Match (Target Rifle) against Cambridge in 1960 and 1961.  In the 1960s he also shot .22 smallbore rifle for Scotland.  In 1966 he was second in the Bisley Grand Aggregate and in 1974 he shot fullbore rifle in the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch New Zealand winning a Silver Medal.

He has represented Great Britain on numerous occasions including six GB tours to Canada and was Vice Captain in 1984 and Captain in 1990.  He shot in the Empire Match (now called Australia Match) in 1974 and three times in the Palma Match and 5 times in the Kolapore Match and was Captain of the GB Kolapore Team in 1995.

He has shot regularly for Scotland in the National Match -- starting in 1961 he shot 24 times and 20 times in the MacKinnon Match. He was Captain of the Scotland Team from 1991 to 1993.   He also shot for Scotland in the Elcho Match (Match Rifle) in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 2002.

Colin was Chairman of the Scottish Rifle Association for 10 years from 1981 to 1990. He was also heavily involved with the organisation of Commonwealth Games shooting events and was Director of Shooting for the 1986 Edinburgh Games and was Team Manager for the Scottish team for the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

He was legal advisor to the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland and held the position of Vice Chair in 1991 andthen Chairman for 4 years from 1995.

He has been heavily involved in the organisation of Scottish shooting, he was the secretary and treasurer of the newly formed Scottish Shooting Council in 1966 and was instrumental in bringing together the primary disciplines together to form the Scottish Target Shooting Federation, an organisation he was to chair between 2002 and 2006, so that Government could communicate with shooting and hear the response 'with one voice'. Nowhere was this more important and evident than in our most recent plans to create a National Shooting Centre and discussions had with the then Minister for Sport, Shona Robison who made it clear just how important it was for shooting to speak with ‘one voice’. The message had got through, largely due to Colin’s unstinting efforts.