Hatherleigh Shooting Club will dedicate its December shoot to the memory of former club president, Barry Vincent Downton, who passed away recently.

Barry was a keen shooter and originally travelled into Tavistock for the town’s shooting club.

In 1996 he founded the Hatherleigh Shooting Club, originally called the Monksokehampton Shooting Club, when his wife suggested he set up a club close to their home just outside Iddesleigh.

Liz Kershaw, secretary of Hatherleigh Shooting Club,said: ’Barry welcomed anybody who wanted to join the club and we had people ranging from national shooting champions to novices like myself.’

At the club, he was renowned for his skill in the long drop shot and in one of his most memorable moments he put up five clay pigeons simultaneously and shot them all.

Barry’s name became so synonymous with the club that when he tried to retire and hand over the running of the club to Liz and her husband, they felt they had to refuse.

Liz said: ’In 2013, Barry asked us if we could take over the shooting club and we said "happy to help Barry, but you’re the president." So Barry stayed as president and encouraged loads of people over the years into shooting.’

Barry loved cars and was also interested in local history. He was touted as something of an expert in the history of Iddesleigh.

During his retirement, Barry earned the nickname ’Barry the Egg’ for his role as newspaper, and egg delivery man, which he operated from the back of his trusty Land Rover. He delivered both national and local papers, including the Okehampton Times.

Barry’s wife, Maureen Downton, said: ’His one motive was to get the papers through no matter what the weather was.’

Barry’s funeral and wake were held on November 3 and were attended by over 100 people.

Due to covid restrictions, a maximum of only 65 people were allowed inside the church so the service was broadcast outside for others who wanted to pay their respects.

The wake was held at the shooting club’s ’headquarters’ at the Duke of York and a marquee was set up outside to allow for an open air gathering.

Wife Maureen and friend John Watson spoke at the funeral in a video eulogy, which was ended by Liz who described Barry as ’a unique gentleman.’

She said: ’Barry was always friendly and happy. He always took time to talk to people and remembered them. He had a way that made you feel appreciated and remembered, which was lovely.

’He was a unique gentleman who will be remembered as only marvellous and fondly remembered by many.’