The Fiona Reynolds Memorial All Schools Match

The Future Of Fullbore Target Rifle Shooting

FIONA REYNOLDS

Born 6th October 1985, and raised on the land at Cumnock, Fiona Reynolds commenced as a boarder at New England Girls' School on 27 January, 1998. She joined the NEGS Target Rifle Club, one of her many interests and sports [including completing the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic], and competed in the All Schools match in 2001, 2002 and 2003. In 2003 she was NEGS Senior Prefect and Vice-Captain of the Rifle Club.

Fiona led from the front, with enthusiasm, and was passionate about her involvement with shooting.

As a GAP student at Gresham’s School, Norfolk, UK in 2004, her shooting background was soon exploited as she became part of that school’s famous team. Upon returning to university in Australia in 2005, Fiona was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With characteristic vigour, humour and optimism she took on this new challenge.

Fiona died 10th February 2007.

As a tribute to her memory, the NSW Rifle Association, original trophy donor Mr Angus Edwards, and with the support of participating schools, renamed the All Schools Match The Fiona Reynolds Memorial All Schools Match.

A Parting Shot ceremony commemorated the renaming, attended by her family, former team mates, members of the 2004 ACC Team to Bisley and many parents and school Rifle Club members. Fiona’s father Scott Reynolds, presented the medallions to the winners of the Match.

The Parting Shot Ceremony 2007

At The 600 Metre Firing Point

 

"Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to ANZAC Rifle Range and the 2007 All Schools Match. Thank you so much for being part of this short ceremony.

We are gathered here at this moment to witness the firing of a parting shot on behalf of a special young lady, Fiona Reynolds, who died earlier this year from a brain tumor.

Fiona was a member of the NEGS Target Rifle Club from 2001 to 2003, from years 10 to 12.

On behalf of us all I would like to welcome her parents Scott and Belinda, sister Sally and brother Will. Fiona’s older sister Aimee can’t be with us today.

Please also welcome a great many of Fiona’s NEGS friends from the Class of ‘03. I would especially like to welcome Miss Louise Larsson who was Fiona’s shooting Captain and who has flown in from Brisbane this morning, and Miss Renee Gerkens also from that team.

Nothing much has changed here at ANZAC Range, except perhaps the weather, since the years that Fiona came here, to practice and then compete in the All Schools Match and then shoot at GPS, under the Captaincy of Louise.

She was a promising shot. In 2003 she top scored for NEGS at GPS, not too far behind TAS and High’s best scores in the Bisley Bullet Match, and wind coached as well. This was also the first year that NEGS and Shore competed for the Honner Shield and The Burl, an initiative of Mr David Honner, whom we also welcome here today.

Fiona took her shooting aptitude and experience with her to The Gresham’s School, Norfolk, in the UK on her GAP year where I understand she was given a significant role in their shooting program, and consequently went to Bisley often, not the least for Ashburton Week, their version of GPS, where she met the 2004 Australian Cadet Corps touring team.

At this point we also welcome here today representatives of that team and team CO Richard Knowles.

In a moment I will ask Louise Larrson to fire the shot, wind coached by Renée Gerkens.

I am grateful for the support we have received from everyone involved in this gesture.

It is appropriate indeed that school shooters commemorate the lives of young colleagues, since a school shooting career is necessarily short compared to those of other venerable shots whose names are commemorated in matches and with trophies across the Rifle Club movement.

And now, I will ask our Range Officer Mr Bill Barry to call on the Butts Officer and Markers to give the target half mast salute and Louise to fire Fiona’s Parting Shot.

This will be followed by a minute’s silent reflection."



Trophy and Presentation



"When the New England Girls’ School Target Rifle Club was formed in 1996 there was very little in the way of team competition for the girls. Their efforts were necessarily confined to Open Prize Meetings, until Mr Angus Edwards, then Councillor of the NSW Rifle Association, with the support of chairman John Roberts, thought to resurrect a school’s match that had not been shot since World War One, in order to give them competition with shooters their own age.

The All School’s Match came back as the first event in the State Championship, held in April, with a trophy donated by Angus - the Prorak Trophy. For several years, the Match was a three sided contested among High, TAS and NEGS.

When the Match was finally moved to the present July date, just before the GPS Rifle Shooting Premiership, participation exploded into the many team contest, such as we have enjoyed today.

It is with this background in mind, that I express my gratitude to Angus and the NSWRA, and with the support of the participating schools, for allowing us to rename today’s match The Fiona Reynolds Memorial All School’s Match.

To see so many schools and teams competing together, the spectator galleries of parents and friends, the interaction and fun, especially among school shooters in the context of friendly competition, was exactly the sort of event that Fiona Reynolds enjoyed and encouraged.

It is particularly pleasing to welcome Knox Grammar to the competition, and we hope they enjoyed themselves enough to be back next year.

You may gather that those of us who knew Fiona, regard her as an exceptional person.

Fiona continued a family tradition by spending her secondary years at NEGS. In the NEGS way, she made lifelong friends and a mark upon the life of the school by being always enthusiastic, a trier of everything and a problem solver. She was a “can do” person by virtue of lateral thinking and a gift for diplomacy and group motivation.

In 2003 these qualities made her an obvious choice for Senior Prefect (the School’s equivalent of Captain), and her natural leadership produced a most cohesive and effective Year 12 at a time when the school was experiencing critical change.

Whatever else was happening, whatever was needed, when the staff weren’t entirely on the game, morale was wavering or a team effort required, Fiona led from the front. No arm chair general or shrinking violet she.

Her most formidable weapon was her ability to socialise, make friends, regardless of gender or age, and leave a lasting impression. This was facilitated in no small way by her love and knowledge of Rugby. Nothing was impossible.

It was such a person who arrived at The Greshams School, Norfolk, in 2004. There had been NEGS GAPs at Gresham’s before, but none like Fiona, who took to the school, her duties and all it had to offer with gusto. As mentioned earlier, her contribution to the school’s shooting program quickly became a major duty, running smallbore and making trips to Bisley.

I have a message of best wishes for today from the school’s headmaster, Mr Anthony Clark.

Fiona was diagnosed early in 2005 soon after starting her studies at Newcastle University. At that time she was contemplating buying a target rifle to shoot at Cessnock, and never entirely let that idea go.

Her health led to changes in direction but did not in any way change her typical approach to the problem. Anything was possible, and so began the well known round of chemotherapy, side effects, hospital stays, setbacks and advances, diet changes, rescheduling to studies and stays at home or near treatment.

Her email reports to her wide circle of friends were matter of fact and well informed, I have kept several, always newsy and interesting, hardly self-centred. Indeed one of the emails I have, sent late last year, was a rallying call to the NEGS community to help save the School from oblivion.

Indeed the School rescue campaign was just the sort of project she shone at, and it was completely typical of her to join the cause, man the barricades, rally the troops and tell them all that they could do it. (And they did.)

I think you now get a good idea of the young lady we are recognising today by associating her name with the endeavour and challenge of a sporting competition,  in a sport which she enjoyed and excelled at.

In a moment I shall ask Scott Reynolds to present the beginning of a larger trophy and medals to the winning team.

I should explain that the plate which will be presented today will be soon included with a collection of Fiona’s shooting items, score book, sights and badges and shell from the Shot, in a frame which will then be presented as the perpetual trophy.

The original trophy sponsor, Mr Angus Edwards, has graciously agreed to let his trophy be replaced, however we decided than rather retire it, the Prorak Trophy should become the prize for a concurrent match among the three original schools in the All Schools Match - High, TAS and NEGS."