Shooting veteran?s honour
GRAEME Veale has given litres of blood, sweat and tears for the Coffs Harbour Rifle Club for more than half a century.
At the club's recent annual two-day field and service shoot, it was time for the sport to give something back to Veale, awarding him life membership to the NSW Rife Association.
Veale admits the honour was a shot out of the blue.
"It was quite something," he said.
"I was pretty surprised, I didn't think I was in that category just yet.
"But it is very nice to know that a lot of other blokes think you are doing a good job."
Veale's association with the Coffs Harbour club stretches back to 1950, when he joined as a high school student.
He said one of the major changes in the time since had been the introduction of the field and service class in the 1990s.
At the time, Coffs Harbour had fewer than 10 members, but within a year it had 80.
"The field class opened up a lot of opportunities because it allowed people to use ordinary sports rifles, it made the sport accessible to the public," Veale said.
"It was like re-inventing the wheel, I suppose.
"Plus it gave people a genuine reason to own and operate a firearms."
Coffs Harbour publicity officer Dave Moppett praised the time and effort Veale has put into the sport over the years
"No rifle club in Northern NSW would be where it is today without Graeme," Moppett said. "He was instrumental in developing the field class, not just in this region but across NSW.
"He has given his life to the sport and definitely deserved the life member- ship."