We were thrilled to catch up with Victoria Knowles Lacks – the passionate and proud instigator of Europe's largest and foremost ladies' clay shooting organisation, The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club (S&CBC).
Responsible for shifting the shooting industry to create a movement of confident lady guns, Victoria is currently busy organizing the final aspects of next month’s National Ladies’ Shooting Day (Saturday 10th June) – which sees over 1,000 women shooting across 30 grounds in the UK. It is the largest ladies only clay shooting event in the world.
- What is your earliest personal memory of shooting?
I was quite a latecomer! The first actual game shoot I went on was during my teens. A lovely chap from Young Farmers invited me along. It was slightly embarrassingly as he had an old hammer gun which initially I had no idea how to hold. The recoil of the shells made me wince and I actually shot a pigeon- resulting in cheer from down the line as I didn't aim for it. Somewhat awkward! However, the whole day was just incredible. It was a little sydincate shoot, the banter and sloegasms were a plenty and the après shooting went on in to the night. I was smitten and learnt a fair bit about the importance of gun fit and mount!
- Was there a light bulb moment that instigated your creation of SG&CB Club?
In hindsight I think there was. I learnt to shoot with a load of old boys who were such good fun, but I did feel hugely out of my depth and a little bit alone with it. I remember a distinct lack of women and female support at grounds. Having looked around for fellow female shots and advice and finding virtually nothing, I set up a blog which had more interest that I could have ever dreamed. S&CBC was a natural progression from there.
The real lightbulb moment came 6 years ago when I took four girl friends for a group shooting lesson and made a Victoria Sponge for after (an initial lure as they weren't really keen on the idea so I had to sweeten the deal with cake!). Never in a million years did I think we'd have well in excess of 10,000 women join us at our shoots!
- How did NLSD come about?
Like all the best ideas, the idea came after a few cheeky glasses of fizz on New Years Eve, 2014. S&CBC was thriving and I was keen for a challenge. I spent New Year’s Day brainstorming, planning and getting to work.
- What are you most excited about for NLSD this year?
Oh my goodness, there's way too much to be excited about! Obviously having the Wingfield Digby girls joining us at EJ Churchill is a huge highlight, as is the number of brand new shooters joining us and a full line up of sponsors we love and of course a mega list of prizes that we're giving away!
- Why do you feel so passionately about introducing women to the sport?
Historically, women have been on the back foot a bit (speaking generally, of course) with shooting. There just haven’t been the opportunities like men have had, so I set about evening up the playing field. There is no reason at all why women can't shoot as well men, the problem is that first 'in' in to the sport and sometimes confidence.
- Who is your most inspirational female shot and why?
Cheryl Hall - she is the most wonderful 'normal' woman in that she's one of us, one of the girls, but she has achieved the most phenomenal success and has won over 30 World titles.
- What is your proudest achievement to date?
Being named a Fieldsports Magazine 'Outstanding Gun' in 2016. I was the only lady and given the title alongside so many incredible sporting greats, such as Lord James Percy and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
- If you could save one photo in your house, what would it be and why?
The group photo from Fieldsports Magazine’s 'Outstanding Guns' day. A great line of the best chaps in the business, with me stood in the middle with the most sincere and ridiculous of smiles!
- What is on your Wingfield Digby wish list and why?
The Guinea Fowl placemats.
- Favourite feather type?
Guinea Fowl, and darker pheasant feathers.
For more information on The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club, click here.
For more information on National Ladies’ Shooting Day 2017, and booking, click here.