(L to R) Tim Scannel, Matt Fox, Paddy Ashe, Geoff Cooney, Ewan Oughton at the WTSC Airgun Open, April 2005
Paddy Ashe (in the centre of the photo) was an old friend of my fathers, from years before I was born. So when I found his name on the list of signatures of the people who set up the NTSA, it was a bit of a surprise at the size of the world. So I started sending copies of the newsletter down to him, and found he was still interested in shooting, he’d just drifted away from the sport over the years. When the pistols came back, his interest rose enough that he decided to get back to the line, and he and an old friend of his, Tim Scannel, drove clear across the country (not a small thing at his age) and shot in the WTSC Airgun Open, the first open air pistol match in Ireland since 1972. And he placed third overall, which wasn’t bad going at all.
Paddy made friends with pretty much everyone he met in WTSC and joined the club, beating Daniel by a few miles for the title of most-far-flung-WTSC-member; and we were talking about going to Bisley for the airgun match, though he was thinking he couldn’t go because of family committments, but he was looking forward to the next open match in October out in Wilkinstown.
Paddy died yesterday at two in the afternoon. He wasn’t the youngest of men, but it was still a sudden shock to us up here. He’s one of those in the sport who gave more than they took, and who was encouraging to all who spoke to him, even on the line where so many shooters are so focussed as to be very abrupt and curt if you speak to them; but never Paddy, who was one of life’s gentlemen in that regard. We’ve all lost a little bit today of what the shooting community was all about.