It was action stations on Saturday (13th August 2011) when Portsmouth’s Action Field Gun Club was presented with a £500 donation from Care UK’s Harry Sotnick House nursing home, Buckland, Portsmouth.
Gary Briggs, the home’s manager, presented the cheque to club chairman Peter Scott at a training session held at Portsmouth College.
Gary said: “Our 92-bed home opened earlier this year and it is already very much a part of the community, with local people joining us for events such as our free summer fun day. When Care UK gave us the opportunity to make a charitable donation we wanted to choose something that represented the interests of our residents. Many have lived in this community for most of their lives.
“The field guns have always held a special place for Portsmouth people so we were delighted to be able to support the team.”
Field gun is a unique, spectacular and exciting event, pushing competitors "to the limit and beyond". Two 18-strong crews compete to be the first to haul a field gun and its carriage over walls and ramps, and across a chasm. Often described as “the toughest team event in the world”, the Field Gun Competition was once the centre-piece of the Royal Tournament at Earls Court in London. Men from the Royal Navy’s Portsmouth Command trained at Whale Island in Portsmouth Harbour and competed in the Royal Tournament until it came to an end in 1999.
Although the Royal Naval field gun drills have ceased, the Portsmouth Field Action Gun Club is keeping the tradition alive. In 2001, a crew and staff of ex-field gunners and civilians came together to perform competitive field gun runs using the same drill and the same equipment, over the same sort of course, as Royal Naval gunners had done for a hundred years. The present crew and staff of the Portsmouth Action Field Gun Club are now based at the Portsmouth College, Tangier Road, Portsmouth, where they train and prepare for demonstrations of their combined strength and skill.
Gary said: “The club is committed to preserving this spectacular display of toughness, courage, discipline and teamwork. My team, and all the staff across Care UK’s 60 care homes, are dedicated to providing excellent care for our residents. Each resident of Harry Sotnick House is a unique individual and we do our best to ensure they can keep up their hobbies and interests and live life the way they want.”