A beautiful October morning dawned for the first Lyford Ladies Day in Oxfordshire, bright sunshine and not a cloud in sight. The event was organised in aid of Cancer Research UK, a charity very dear to me and my friend Jaqui, as we both lost close relatives this year to cancer.
We gathered at The Chequers at Charney Bassett for a breakfast of bacon rolls and a briefing from the gamekeeper. Heading out to the shoot to meet all the loaders, beaters and dogs there were some nerves and lot of chat about first driven shoot days. Three of us, including me, had never been on one but were looking forward to a ladies-only day with some great loaders to point us in the right direction.
After three drives everyone piled into the kitchen for a lunch of soup, rolls and cakes, exchanging stories of what they loved and how they could have just got that bird. We all loved this part of the day, the talking, the storytelling, the laughing and getting to know people who you may not have crossed paths with. On a high, we returned to the field for the last three drives.
The birds flew well, and the atmosphere was great. Everyone shot a few and were happy with their first time out in the field. It was a small day but a happy one where everyone enjoyed themselves with no pressure and a lot of laughing. I for one had the best time and was very glad of all the help for the first-timers.
We all headed back to the pub for a raffle of amazing donated prizes which we all wanted to win. The day raised more than £3,000 for Cancer Research UK and I can’t wait to plan the next one!
I would like to thank Clare Shaw, Katherine Gibbard of R&K Stockcraft, Oxfordshire Shooting School, Custom Fit Guards, and Just Cartridges – Witney, BASC, Barbury Shooting School, Tommy Taylor, Will Cumber and everyone else involved in the day. And Harriet Ritson who took photographs and video of the day.