Vi­tal com­mu­nity

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

Last week­end, while load­ing for a friend in Wilt­shire, I heard a poignant story.

Some weeks pre­vi­ously, on a shoot not far from where we were, a reg­u­lar beater had failed to turn up. Whether it is a party, a hunt meet or a badly or­gan­ised trip to the pub, peo­ple not turn­ing up in life is hardly unique, but the beater was an older gen­tle­man and some­body thought they should go and see if some­thing was amiss.

The beater had suf­fered a heart at­tack and was ly­ing on the bath­room floor. I was de­lighted to hear he was found in the nick of time and it looks like he will make a full re­cov­ery.

As the birds started to rise out of the cover crop in front of us, I thought about the com­mu­nity we are all part of. In the city, peo­ple have next-door neigh­bours and friends in the im­me­di­ate lo­cal area. Mean­while, in the coun­try­side, peo­ple of­ten live far apart and rely on field­sports to bring them to­gether.

The ben­e­fits of these ru­ral groups ex­ist­ing are many and, as I learned that day, can even be life-sav­ing.

I do won­der if peo­ple op­posed to shoot­ing recog­nise that if they had their way, it wouldn’t just be a sport that would be ru­ined but a vi­tal com­mu­nity that ex­ists around it. Fol­low Pa­trick on Twit­ter @pad­dy­c­gal­braith

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