In the early 1940’s, a small group of Gentlemen met every Sunday to practise the sport of archery. The meetings took place at Grange Farm, Doctor Hill, Halifax. The owner of the field, himself a keen archer and bowyer, was Mr “Ted” Hurling. This dedicated group shot in all weathers, and Mrs Hurling’s home- made cakes were always welcome, sitting around the farmhouse fire, particularly on those winter afternoons.
Sadly Ted passed away, and with him, the availability of our range. The remaining archers joined forces with the Halifax Archery Club at Brackenbed Grange, (about 400 yards away), for a short period.
The original group wishing to retain their identity decided to establish a new club and held a meeting at Savile Park Road, Halifax on the 3rd October 1944. The club founders attending the meeting were:
Arnold Noble, Fred Hiller, Frank Rawbone (former Halifax R.L.F.C. player), Alec Clifford, Bob Aklam, Herbert Parriss, George Parriss, Frank Lister and Frank Lister (Junior). The club was established and the name White Rose Archers unanimously agreed. The new club was fortunate in being allowed to shoot on the pitch at Thrum Hall, the home of Halifax R.L.F.C.
The equipment in those early days was wooden bows and arrows in the main, with a few privileged members possessing steel bows and arrows. The club enjoyed a steady growth and some skilled archers began to emerge.
In 1946, a neighbouring club Hebden Bridge Archers, who were having a difficult time, decided to join White Rose Archers. Both shooting ranges were retained and for a few years the club enjoyed the luxury of two fields to shoot on. With the increased membership, competitive shooting and social activities continued to flourish.
In 1947 White Rose Archers was one of the clubs invited by the Grand National Archery Society to support the first Junior National Championships to be held in London at the ground of The Royal Toxophilite Society. Two junior members represented the club
In 1948 club members competed for the Ancient Scorton Arrow for the first time. One of these won the Thirsk Medallion for the best gold.
In 1951 White Rose Archers supported the formation of the Yorkshire Archery Association and were represented on the first committee. Gordon Foster served on the committee for a number of years, holding the post as Secretary. Gordon was awarded the Yorkshire Sword in 1998 for services to Yorkshire Archery. Another longstanding member, Ann Shooter, was also awarded the Yorkshire Sword in 2010.
In 1952 the club were no longer able to avail themselves of the Thrum Hall amenities. The H.Q. and the equipment were transferred to the Hebden Bridge ground at Rawholme. The club continued successfully and enjoyed visits both to and from other clubs in the north of England. Successful postal shoots were arranged with more distant clubs including South Africa and New Zealand.
In 1964 Mrs Irene Whitely, one of the original Hebden Bridge members who transferred to “White Rose”, was elected as an honorary life member after 18 years of service to the club.
The next decade saw mixed fortunes for the club until the 1970’s when it became necessary to review the future of archery at Hebden Bridge, and White Rose Archers in particular.
In 1973 discussions with Hebden Bridge Sports and Social Club resulted in an archery section being formed incorporating White Rose Archers, thus ensuring the continuity of the club. The first formal meeting of the rejuvenated club being in June 1974.
From June 1974 until March 1977 White Rose Archers met at Hebden Bridge cricket field. In March 1977 the Club moved to Brearley playing fields at Mytholmroyd where the members continued to shoot until the end of September 1985.
The club has continued to develop in both numbers of members and activities and has had many would be archers through the training courses it has arranged.
In 1982 a unique event occurred when the existing honorary life member, Mrs Irene Whitley, was elected honorary life member for the second time under the revived club.
March 1986 saw the club back at Hebden Bridge shooting once again on the cricket field. In April 1987 White Rose Archers became joint owners with the Cricket Club of the cricket field and adjoining land.
In 1994 the Golden Jubilee Longbow Tournament was held and become an annual open event, now called the Autumn Longbow Shoot.
Members’ successes and awards
On having well and truly reached the age of maturity the club enjoys a good reputation and the respect of its peers. Club members’ successes include:
Former Captain and Lieutenants of the Ancient Scorton Arrow.
Lady of the Ascham Arrow. Won twice by members of the club.
Yorkshire Archery Association County Lady Longbow Champion. (2 Members)
Yorkshire Archery Association County Gents Longbow Champion
Yorkshire Archery Association County Longbow Veterans Champion (3 Members)
Yorkshire Archery Association County Indoor Ladies Longbow Champion
Yorkshire Field, Lady Longbow Champion
Yorkshire Clout, Lady Longbow Champion
Yorkshire Archery Association County Longbow Championships. Team Winners 2001
Lancashire Field Champion
British Field Championships 2002; Ladies Longbow Champion
Captain of the Ilkley Arrow 2003
Yorkshire Longbow Championship; Team Trophy 2006
British Longbow Society Association Ladies Champion 2007
E.F.A. National European Champion (Field) 2008/9
Yorkshire Compound Champion
Bowyers Plate Winner 4 times
Yorkshire Traditional Field Champion
North Wales Indoor Champion 2009
Lancashire Indoor Champion 2009
Yorkshire Longbow team Champions
British Longbow Ladies Champion