The annual Christmas Dinner was held on Tuesday 12 December at Sandford Springs Golf Club. Attended by a total of forty six people the evening started with mulled wine followed by choices from four starters, four mains and four desserts, completed with mince pies and coffee.
Entertainment consisted of an impressive close up magician who went to every table amazing everyone with his skills. A Christmas raffle, organised by David and Bridget Tivey, had an extensive array of prizes with the proceeds going to the club’s funds. Then a music hall style entertainer had a wide variety of skits, monologues and songs.
Thanks go to Alan May, supported by his wife Liliane, who once again handled all the arrangements with the venue to ensure that each person had exactly the food and wine they had previously ordered.
John Kynoch wearing his Olympic bronze medal with Probus President Paul Flint
John Kynoch in front of running boar target
John Kynoch, himself a member of the Probus Club of Basingstoke, gave an outline of the history of the Olympic Games and how he became a member of the British team.
Living on a remote sheep farm in New Zealand there was a weekly visit from a neighbouring farmer with his son and the two young boys were taught to shoot by John’s Scottish father who had shot at Bisley, the home of British shooting. Attending school John joined the shooting section and realised that he had a real skill and beat older boys. When he came to Scotland to work in the family woollen mill he maintained his rifle shooting interest. Eventually attending Bisley he rose to the top and represented Great Britain in several international shooting championships.
At the next Olympic Games in 1972, being held in Munich, a sporting rifle competition was being introduced. At a distance of 50 metres a running boar silhouette would cross a gap of 10 metres in 5 seconds, then 2.5 seconds. From a standing position the shooter would have 5 shots in each section. Possibly he might be selected for the British team if the qualifying grade was reached; something that had not been achieved in this country previously.
He built a mini gallery in his garage and for the next two years he reckons he put in 2000 hours of training. He likened this to how a golfer practices his swing without hitting the ball and that only 5% of his training involved firing a shot. At the Olympic trials he produced his best ever score and was selected for the GB team. The feeling was that he might get into the top ten but things turned out differently.
He actually won the bronze medal with a score that a year earlier had been a world record. This was the first medal for rifle shooting won by a Briton since 1924 and was rightly celebrated. However this was the games that became known as Black September as members of the Israeli team were assassinated by Arab terrorists and even after all these years John still finds himself emotionally affected.