Barbara puts herself in the line of fire

Barbara Barber
Barbara Barber

A former international sport shooter from Wing is continuing her involvement at the top level of shooting by officiating at world-class events.

Barbara Barber, 62, of Aylesbury Road, was among the judges (known as the jury) at the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012 and will take up the same role at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.

Between 1982 and 2006, Barbara travelled all over the world to represent Great Britain and England in the 25m pistol and 10m air pistol events. She was British champion on several occasions and ventured across Europe and as far as South Africa and Venezuela to compete, but admits her role as an official in the memorable Games nearly two years ago ranks among the highlights of her career.

Barbara said: “I enjoyed going to The Hague in the Netherlands, and I would like to go back to East Germany to see how it has changed since the reunification. In Venezuela, it was too dangerous to leave the hotel.

“But I still pinch myself that I was sitting in the audience for the opening ceremony at the London Olympics and Paralympics – it was extraordinary to be involved in that.”

British Shooting recently received a funding increase of £312,000 from UK Sport to build on the gold medal won by Peter Wilson at London 2012. And Barbara hopes the financial boost will encourage more people with less background in, or knowledge of, the sport to get involved.

She said: “I started when I met my husband through horse riding. He used to go shooting so I went along with him. I was totally useless but we got married and I started going again and realised what I had been doing wrong.

“It’s totally changed since I was doing it, there was no lottery funding then – you paid to represent Great Britain.

“There is quite a lot of interest now, especially from youngsters with the scouts and cadets and things like that, and people are now realising that sport helps everything else you do.

“It teaches you skills like discipline and confidence, and it’s all about attention to detail if you want to be the best.

“If you learn properly you have respect for the guns and you know that you do not point it at anybody or anything like that.”