A grant to purchase his first compound bow has allowed Andy Sutton to continue in the sport of Archery following major surgery

Andy writes Sport has always played a big part in my life. I was captain of the basketball teams in school and University and played for area, county and national teams in England, Wales and Scotland.  I also captained school and club rugby teams and also played for my University.   Suffice to say I’ve been pretty sorts mad for a long time.


I’d had various symptoms of sciatic like pain, numbness and lower back pain over many years but it wasn’t until 2002 that things came to light.


In 2002 I lost all function below the waist and received a diagnosis that I had a spinal cord tumour. I regained some limited function that enabled me to walk and continue working but by 2010 I had several rounds of surgery and was confined to a wheelchair.  I knew that ultimately I would become completely paraplegic but I was keen to keep active so I took up kayaking. I was the first paraplegic paddler to complete the three lakes challenge in 2018 (we made a short film about this find it on https://vimeo.com/312176655 )


 I took up Archery in 2021 and started with a recurve bow at Thirsk Bowmen.  By 2022 I needed major surgery to remove the tumour that was threatening my hands and upper body function but that involved removing spinal cord and part of several vertebrae. As a result I lost everything below my shoulder blades.  When I got back to the indoor range it became very obvious I couldn’t shoot a recurve bow as I didn’t have the core strength to remain upright.  I was heart broken, archery had given me a focus and means of staying competitive.  All seemed lost,  then  Lindsay Howard the clubs leading lady archer and a Yorkshire champion para archer let me try her compound bow. This gave me a lifeline to continue in the sport.  I’ve made a good start and the financial assistance from the Worshipful Company of Fletchers helped me purchase my own Compound Bow and enabled me to stay in the sport I’ve grown to love.  My goals are to compete in local events and if I make enough progress then to take part in the wheelchair championships in September.