Bob Aitken Service to Shooting Award

Bob Aitken

Following Bob Aitken’s death last October 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 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. 

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 2017 - Colin McEachran

STS is delighted to announce that the inaugural winner of the Bob Aitken Service to Shooting Award is 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 shooting 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.

Congratulations Colin.