IMG_0728BASC’s work with children at an innovative state-run school in Sussex will feature in an upcoming BBC Countryfile programme.

And the association’s long-standing relationship with West Rise Junior School will also be highlighted in a documentary to be screened at the Tate Modern gallery in London next month.

BASC, the UK’s largest shooting organisation, has worked with the Eastbourne school for the last four years, emphasising shooting’s positive role in countryside management and conservation.

The high point for the children has always been clay pigeon sessions provided by BASC coaches, which were repeated this year as the cameras ran for both the BBC and Freelands Foundation, a national educational charity.

BASC South East regional officer Justin Clarke said: “Every year we are invited to put on a day where children can both learn about and try different activities connected with the countryside. Without fail, the shooting is always the most popular activity.

“We offer the children some of the same experiences that pupils in many independent schools already enjoy. It is wonderful to be in a position to show shooting is very much a sport for all, irrelevant of background.”

The great outdoors is an integral part of the West Rise curriculum under the leadership of forward-thinking head-master Mike Fairclough, with pupils given hands-on experience of farming, forestry and bee-keeping. The school also raises pigs, goats, chickens, sheep and water buffalo.

This success linking children with their environment has been praised by Prime Minister David Cameron and featured regularly on national TV and in the media.

Mike Fairclough said: “Responsible countryside management is something which all children need to learn about. BASC has supported the school to this end with expert and professional coaching and advice. The children love learning to shoot clays, gaining invaluable knowledge and skills at the same time.”

The Countryfile segment, presented by John Craven, is due to air this coming Sunday on BBC1 while the Freelands Foundation documentary will be shown at the Tate on April 9.

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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