FRANK Mulligan has been named as archery’s national unsung hero.
Frank beat seven other nominees from all over the UK to take the title. He received the accolade as the Grand National Archery Society celebrated its 150th anniversary with a gala dinner at the site of its first meeting, the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool.
Tom Dielen, the Secretary General of World Archery (formerly FITA), presented him with a crystal decanter and praised “the wonderful work done by the unsung heroes and the whole archery family of the UK.”
And society chairman Dave Harrison said: “Anyone who founds six archery clubs has to be committed to the sport. Frank is not only a founder of multiple clubs, but is known as someone who championed field archery long before it was widely accepted, helping the fledgling sport gain popularity. Today he is known as a top-class judge and coach of not just field archers, with current club members shooting at the highest levels in both field and target.
“He is the winner of awards too numerous to mention – and he is so keen to spread the archery message far and wide that his club, Ballyvally Archers, runs beginners courses starting every six weeks throughout the year – and they are full almost every time.”
In 1970, Frank was a teacher running history classes on medieval warfare when he spotted an archery display in a local sports shop. He left the shop with enough equipment to set up a school club, St Patrick’s Junior Archers, which was an immediate hit with pupils. Their enthusiasm spread and led to a demand for archery sessions at a local community centre, which quickly turned into another club.
He became inspired by field archery after seeing a demonstration at the Belfast Festival and has since turned Ballyvally into one of the UK’s foremost field archery clubs, hosting three British Open Championships.
Frank was characteristically modest about the award, a one-off to celebrate the society’s anniversary. ‘Would surprised cover it?” he asked. You don’t do this on your own,” he said. “I have lots of people behind me - a very good committee and volunteers.
“This is a recognition of the entire club, and all who help to run it. This for them - and I feel really chuffed.”