Maidstone dad sets up shooting range in kitchen after life-changing injury

  • Tap to watch video report by ITV Meridian's Joe Coshan

A Gold medal winning sportsman from Kent has revealed how he practices his shooting in his own kitchen.

Bill Wilson, 61, was recently crowned champion at the British Open Airgun Championships.

And he claims his rather unique training regime is what's helped him achieve the title.

Bill, who lives in Maidstone, was left paralysed from the chest down after falling down a set of stairs while on holiday with his mum in the Netherlands to see the tulip festival.

Bill Wilson practises shooting in his hallway. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The accident left him with fractured vertebrae, and unable to walk. But Bill says rediscovering air rifle shooting - something he enjoyed as a cadet - during rehab has given him a new purpose.

"It's taken me five years now to get over it, get round and adjust and accept it," Bill said.

"I'm a believer that things happen for a reason.

"I've shot before when I was at school, school captain for two years, shot at Bisley before, but left it when I started university, work.

"I probably would never, had it not been for my accident, gone back to shooting. So I think something good has come out of it."

Bill's electronic target in his conservatory Credit: ITV News Meridian

During his extensive rehabilitation programme, Bill started training at the Disability Shooting GB Club, based at Stoke Mandeville, the home of GB Paralympics. Then he joined his local Tubslake Shooting club and the South East Regional Rifle Squad.

But he says accessing a shooting range to train regularly enough to compete at an elite level is tricky.

So he spent thousands of pounds to build his own Olympic-standard 10-metre firing range: Shooting from a black line of tape in his hallway, through his kitchen, to the electronic target in the conservatory, which is hooked up to a laptop sat on his staircase to give him accurate readings of his scores.

"Focusing on my shooting has given me a reason, a purpose, a sense of purpose. I'm not just looking out a window."

Now setting sights on the Paralympics and the World Cup - his unofficial score at an event last year would've been enough to break a world record and secure Paralympic Gold at the 2020 games.

  • Bill has spent more than £30,000 on equipment, travel and competition costs in the hope of making it to the top

At the age of 61, Bill has picked up more than 10 medals, which includes becoming the British Champion 2024 in the SH2 shooting classification event.

"I think I did quite well, considering I have been seriously ill of late overcoming sepsis and have not shot in an any competitions since July last year. My next events are the South Norfolk Open and Hampshire Open followed by the Gibraltar Open in May."

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