The full copy from my article ‘Shooting from the lip’ which appeared in The Daily Star on October 7.
Vic Morris, 53, who has been in a wheelchair for 24 years since a rugby accident left him paralysed, has beaten able-bodied shooters in international shooting competitions.
Vic, from Aberaeron, west Wales, started shooting when he was 12 years old and competed from the age of 15. He represented Wales in international clay pigeon shooting competitions, using shotguns, for ten years.
He said: “I was desperate to shoot again but never thought I would. After the accident, the thought I’d never be able to use a rifle again was always in the back of my mind.
“It was a difficult thing to come to terms with. I’m so happy to be back doing something I love.”
The rig, which mounts the air rifle on a car axle and triggers it using an electrical mechanism activated by Vic’s tongue, was designed and built by shooting trainer, John Kelman.
John, 65, was asked to come up with a solution by Vic’s father Aubrey.
He recalled: “He told me he wanted me to help his son to shoot again.
“I met Vic in his wheelchair. I held my hand out to shake his, and he looked up at me and said ‘sorry mate, nothing works’.
“I had never worked with a quadriplegic person before. But if someone has a disability and says they can’t shoot, I do my best to get them going.
“So I told him to leave it with me and I would see what I could come up with. I put my thinking cap on and set to work.
“When I’m working on a new rig I can’t sleep. I lie awake at night building things in my head, then the next day I get up and actually build them.”
Vic recalled how his life changed in a split-second during a rugby match when he was 29 years old.
He said: “I went into the scrum and the next thing I knew I heard a horrible sound – three cracks – then I blacked out for a second.
“It wasn’t painful, I just felt numb. I couldn’t feel a thing.
“I wanted to shoot again so I was happy to start working with John. He built a rig for me which meant I could fire an air rifle. I have started taking part in competitions again.”
John said: “I have had Vic shooting an air rifle and even doing archery.
“Soon Vic started to win competitions. Whenever he competed, people wanted to come up and meet him.
“When he won the Eley Postal Competition in Bisley in 2008, Aubrey was in tears and could not go up on stage to receive his trophy with him.
“I went up with him, in case he needed someone to help him to carry his trophy off stage. I choked up as well.”