July 01, 2023

British Empire Medal for archery coach

An archery coach from Essex has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to archery.

Joan Ikel, from Oakfield Archers, first got involved in archery after a family holiday to Pontins where her husband and two sons tried the sport.

Her husband then went on to do a beginners' course followed by her sons and then Joan a couple of years later.

In 1989 they joined Oakfield Archers where Joan is still active in running the club.

She said: “My husband took on the running of Redbridge Youth Squad for the London Youth Games and I helped him as a leader and then assistant coach.

“I’ve now been teaching and coaching for years. I get a sense of satisfaction when people get it and you see them improve.

“I enjoy talking to people and helping them realise what they need to do.”

'Felt so proud'

She furthered her skills by attending disability coaching sessions with her husband and also received training on working with visually impaired people. She has coached deaf people and people with mental health conditions but she says one of her most rewarding experiences was coaching a young woman with epidermolysis bullosa, also known as “butterfly skin”, a rare disorder that causes the skin to become very fragile and blister. She wanted  to learn archery to see if she could do something like ordinary people. 

Joan said: “Some people were wary but I saw it as a challenge and got a great sense of achievement. We had to get Perris Archery to shave down the riser so her hand could get round it and she used a release aid so there was no weight on her fingers from the string. Club members pulled her arrows because she couldn’t do it. My husband helped with advice and support.

“She ended up achieving her second class before she moved away, I felt so proud of her.”

Joan and her husband ran summer courses for children in Redbridge and she supported three juniors into the National Squad, one of whom is now in the World Class Programme.

She also had her own success as an archer taking part in the Malta FITA Star for many years and sometimes winning it. She shot for Essex and was the county’s team manager.

She also competed for the Royal Navy three times because her husband had served in the Navy. She said her Rose awards and FITA Stars gave her a real sense of achievement.

Summing up her life in archery, Joan said: “I’ve never been a sporty person but archery is so inclusive. I’m 76 and have been involved in the sport for over 30 years so its nice to be recognised.”

Our Partners & Sponsors

Follow us

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

OK, got it.