The Club was founded in 1963 by Alan the original and present Secretary and Treasurer.
In 1963 the Club was part of a works Sports and Social Club at the Sigma Instrument Company Ltd. based in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. The company was renown for the design and manufacture of a range of precision measuring instruments and special purpose measuring equipment particularly for the automotive and aviation industries. Gas measuring and gas safety equipment was also manufactured, to include a modern day Miners Safety Lamp for detecting and controlling methane gas in mines. The company was originally owned by the worlds largest Machine Tool Manufacturers Alfred Herbert. Over the years Sigma morphed into Herbert Sigma; Herbert Controls and Instruments back to Sigma Instruments in the early eighties.
Originally only .22 target rifles were used in a nearby Territorial Army drill hall. In the late ‘60’s .22 calibre target pistol shooting was introduced. As the years went by there were more and more Club Members from outside the company, when finally the Sports and Social Club disbanded, the Rifle and Pistol Club continued to go from strength to strength. With its new interests and diverse Membership, fullbore rifle and pistol shooting was added to the range of disciplines, using ranges at Hitchin, Royston, Bassingbourn, Thetford and Bisley on a regular basis.
In 1993, we achieved a life long ambition, we found a landowner who was keen for the Club to build its own range in a disused, but refilled chalk pit. The original plans were for a 100-metre rifle and pistol range, later to be modified to a 50-metre rifle and pistol range. However, in spite of the fact that both the MoD and Hertfordshire police were very supportive to the project, we were subjected to two refusals of planning permission by the local council. A successful appeal was made to the Department of the Environment.
In the summer of 1994 work began on the building of our range, where did all those volunteers get to?
We did eventually find them - the day the range opened in October of that year!
Bringing things up-to-date: The original twenty-one year Lease for the Club Range expired in August 2015. The good news is that the Lease has been renewed for another twenty-one years to 2036. To provide Full Bore Rifle and Pistol Shooting facilities with larger calibres we now also use MoD Ranges in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and of course Bisley. Four of our Club Members now shoot for England, one of these members has recently been appointed 'Team Captain'. Another member regularly shoots for Great Britain.
The Tragic events of Dunblane led Pistol Target Shooting as a sport into a serious decline there are a number of 'facts' that you should be aware of...? read on:-
24/07/06 New website - Dunblane: The author of a recently published new book "Dunblane Unburied". considers an alleged conspiracy theory regarding the tragic events in Dunblane, there is also a new website - below. The author of the book/website, 'Sandra Uttley, lived in Dunblane at the time of the school massacre and was working as a paramedic. She was involved in relieving the first crew to attend the scene and has never forgotten the trauma they endured. It was Sandra's strong belief that Central Scotland Police should have been prosecuted for criminal maladministration. However, the parents chose not to take any legal action.' http://dunblaneunburied.co.uk/
Having read the book there is a website reference link to access the transcript of the Cullen Report at Transcript
See newspaper item below regarding DUNBLANE!
5/10/05 This article appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 3 October 2005. (Source NRA.)
"Secret files on the Dunblane massacre reveal a catalogue of "incompetence" by police and the prosecution service, the father of one of the victims claimed yesterday. Dr Mick North, whose daughter Sophie died, said the authorities missed several opportunities to take action against Thomas Hamilton before he killed 16 children and their teacher. He was speaking after reviewing hundreds of documents that were to have been "closed" for 100 years, but which will be made available for the first time today. The files reveal that several complaints were made about Hamilton's behaviour towards children before the shootings at Dunblane Primary School in 1996. Dr North said: "The documents I viewed confirmed what I believed I knew about the role of the police and the involvement of the procurator fiscal service. There was incompetence. Hamilton's behaviour in the years before the massacre caused great concern and the documents prove a lack of joined-up thinking among police and prosecutors." Dr North viewed the 106 sets of documents over several weeks at the Crown Office in Edinburgh this summer. They include police and witness statements and medical reports."
I have every sympathy with Dr. North having lost his daughter in the Dunblane tragedy. His findings, if accurate, would seem to confirm what shooters have suspected.
If the police and the judiciary in Scotland are to blame for allowing Hamilton access to both guns and children, it begs the question why was it target shooting sportsmen and women who were made to pay the price for their folly?