She almost had to give up the unusual sport she loves – but now a Leeds woman is setting her sights on representing her country.
The expertise of medics in the city has allowed Wendy Taylor to return to skeet shooting, a form of clay pigeon shooting.
Though she only took up the sport in 2005, the deputy theatre manager at Spire Leeds Hospital in Roundhay has excelled – she competed at national level three years ago and was on the Yorkshire Ladies Skeet Shooting Team, which won the British Championship in 2011.
However the following year she injured her shoulder, which left her devastated as she struggled with pain and was forced to stop shooting for six months.
“It was dreadful,” she said. “I’m used to going to the gym and I couldn’t do anything active.”
Wendy, now 59, took up skeet shooting after watching a TV programme about the sport in 2005.
Her husband, folk singer Allan Taylor, bought her a lesson for her birthday and she found she had a natural talent.
She honed her skills with hours of practice and started competing nine years ago, now travelling around the country for competitions.
“I really enjoy it,” she said. “It’s a very difficult discipline and very precise so it focuses the mind. Seeing the clays break is very satisfying. You need a bit of strength to shoot 100 targets so I try to keep fit with regular visits to the gym.”
But Wendy, who has two children and two stepchildren, injured her shoulder in a fall in 2012.
She could hardly lift her gun to shoot and eventually had to stop halfway through a competition.
Wendy underwent surgery in 2013 for a torn rotator cuff, carried out by Roger Hackney, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Spire Leeds Hospital, who has a special interest in rotator cuff tears, shoulder surgery and sports trauma surgery.
He said: “Wendy has made a full recovery and regained power and range of motion,” he said. “She is able to work at full capacity, including occasionally assisting me performing shoulder surgery, which can be quite demanding. More importantly she has got back to her clay shooting and is once again able to represent Scotland in national competition.”
“The surgery was successful and I’ve not had a minutes trouble from my shoulder since,” said Wendy.
“I built up slowly and got my strength back over nine months to get my scores back up.”
Now, Scottish-born Wendy is aiming to qualify for the Scottish National Skeet Shooting Team this year and is currently being coached by multiple World Skeet Champion David Beardsmore.
“Skeet shooting is becoming more popular among women and it’s good to see a lot of younger women coming up the ranks. I really enjoy it and I like the challenge of setting personal goals to aim for,” Wendy added.
“I hope I will carry on and still be shooting in my 70s if I keep my fitness levels up and my eyesight remains sharp.”