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Rifle Club’s new ranges opened –Whitby Gazette Feb 10th 1978

Whitby Rifle Club was now the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom, said the Marquis of Normanby, the Club’s president, officially opening the new O’Donnell ranges Saturday afternoon.

The ranges one for rifle shooting and one for pistols were named in memory of the late Colonel J.K O’Donnell who figured prominently in the club’s development and was Chairman for 8 years.

Guests included Colonel O’Donnell’s son Major Michael O’Donnell and his wife who live in the London area; also the borough Mayor and Mayoress coun. and Mrs. John Dunning and the Town Mayor and Mayoress coun. and Mrs Charles Linford.
During the ceremony Lord Normanby unveiled a suitably inscribed plaque. Afterwards a large company enjoyed an excellent buffet.

Introducing Lord Normanby Mr Ralph Welford club Chairman paid tribute to the late Col. O’Donnell’s contribution to the clubs success; also to Lord Normanby who had supported the club since its inauguration.

Lord Normanby said it was in 1952 that the club was started and in 1968 he was invited to open the present clubhouse. The clubs history had been a tremendous success story and it was a feather in the towns cap to have such a club, The voluntary work of members on the extension programme had saved the club thousands of pounds.

Commenting that the strength of the club lay in its leaders, Lord Normanby referred to the contribution in the early days by men like Norman Greenwood, Evis Grier and Frank Riches; and also Col. O’Donnell, who enlisted the help of the Army in getting the old TA ranges and equipment. It was very appropriate the new ranges should be named after him.

County Marksmen

Lord Normanby said they now had the largest premises owned by one rifle in the United Kingdom, the Police All British championship had taken place there and the club now had members in the Yorkshire team.

Coun. Dunning reporting on behalf of the guests said it was probably the club’s best days work ever when they obtained the present site with its provisions for expansion.

“Travelling about as I do and having associated with other people who come to shoot here, they have all said what a splendid club it is” said Coun. Dunning

Mr A J Rylands a trustee responded on the clubs behalf. Said it was obviously a great day for the club, which had benefited enormously from the support of Col. O’Donnell. The club had come a long way since they used to huddle round the coke stove in the old TA premises.

Mr Ryland said rather than being just a figurehead Lord Normanby had given great real positive and Personal help to the club. He also thanked Whitby councillors for putting forward the clubs case at Scarborough to considerable effect.

Commenting that it was ten years since the club took a 21 year lease on the land, Mr Rylands wondered if arrangements could be made for the to acquire the freehold from the Borough Council and they would be grateful for any assistance towards this end.

Mr Yeoman Williamson Club Captain said although the Ranges had been in use since October for the winter league, the finishing touches to the extension had been made only that day. The ranges have six firing points for rifles and three for pistols.

Quoit Pitches

Two indoor Quoit pitches are a unique feature of the new facilities. Special competitions were organised as part of the occasion. The winners being;

Rifle - 1: John Page 2: H McLean
Pistol- 1: Mike Kemp 2: J Hartley
Junior Rifle – 1: N G Hodgson 2: J P Cooper
Darts - 1: Martin Hart 2: Frank Wale
Doms- 1: Alf Headlam 2: Myra Harland

Quoits- 1: George Hutton 2: John White

Mr Len Harvey the clubs Secretary and Treasurer was in charge of the arrangements

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