Whitby and District Rifle Club History
Whitby and District Rifle Club can be traced back to the early 1950's when a small group of enthusiasts shot on an individual basis in the local T.A Drill Hall in Spring Hill, little more than 50 yards away from the town's Police Station. On the 19th September 1952, the then head of Whitby Police, Superintendent Norman Greenwood, circulated local organisations in the town to see if there was sufficient interest to form a Rifle Shooting League. The response was encouraging and the first Annual General Meeting of the Club was held on the 10th October, 1952 when Superintendent Greenwood was elected Chairman and Sergeant Frank Riches, Secretary. At that time there were 75 members and 30 juniors. In the early years, the Club did not own any weapons and competitions were shot with rifles loaned by Colonel O’Donnell, Mr D Pinkney and the Police Sports Club, who it is said, also provided shooting mats from the cells when not in use. The range was constructed of a brick built lean-to off the main club room. Shooting took place on two nights each week and a total of ten teams competed for the Grange Trophy which was won in the first year by the Police 'A' team. Sadly, none of the original ten teams exist today.
With the re-organisation of the Green Howard’s T.A Section, the Drill Hall was due to be closed and a search was launched for new premises resulting in the offer of a plot of land behind West Cliff School. Plans were drawn up and fundraising began in earnest. A two storey building with six lanes for rifle shooting at 25 yards, and a pit at 20 yards for pistol shooting with a club room and bar above, was eventually opened in 1968. The 1970's saw the opening of an outdoor range at Bolton Quarry near Grosmont with six lanes for shooting at distances of 50 and 100 yards. Some years later, much to the dismay of the Club, this outdoor facility was lost when explorations for natural gas were carried out in the area. Following the opening of the new range, interest in shooting grew and in 1977 shooting facilities were increased by the addition of a further six lane rifle range and three lane pistol range together with an observation lounge and larger armoury. The new extension, which also brought with it improved social facilities, was opened by the founder Chairman, Norman Greenwood. After reaching a peak in the 1980's, for a variety of reasons, interest in shooting began to wane and the Club extended its activities into other sports. In 1997 following a change In Firearms legislation, when .22 pistol shooting became illegal, the Pistol Range was adapted to accommodate members interested in shooting Air Weapons.
Today, in addition to the Rifle Ranges, the Club has four indoor Quoits pitches and two short mat Bowling lanes which are extensively used throughout the winter months. Regarded by many as being much more than a Rifle Club, the Club is able to offer its Social facilities to host Private Functions, Meetings, Wedding Parties, Christenings and Anniversary celebrations.
From its humble beginnings in the three lane lean-too, Whitby and District Rifle Club prides itself in having some of the best facilities in the country which are available to members seven nights a week.
2016 / 2017 Committee and Staff
President - Ralph Welford
Chairperson - Vacant
Vice Chairperson - Alan Rowel
Secretary - Aniruddha RajKonwar (Raj)
Treasurer - Elaine Horton
Club Captain - Mike Rowe
Bar Manager - Jane Wilson
Membership Secretary - Trish Rutland
200 Club Secretary - Jane Wilson & Terri Ann
Committee Members - Social - Dawn Kibble, Ray West, Keith Guy
Committee Members - Shooting - Mallinson Bennett, Mike Rowe, Tony Eddon, Paul Cattermole (2 shooting committee vacancies)
Staff - Terri-Ann & Elaine Warner.
Webmaster - Colin Rutland.
Refurbishment committee - Dawn Kibble, Gillian Ware, Elaine Horton.