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Hospital archery champion

Karen Pinches, an assistant practitioner at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT), and current field archery world champion in the adult female barebow compound category is heading out to Hohegeiss, Germany to compete in the International Field Archery Association (IFAA) European Championships this week.

Karen will be competing against women from across Europe in barebow compound field archery, in both ‘field’ and ‘hunter’ rounds, where targets are placed at even or uneven distances away from the archer, in the mountain ranges of Hohegeiss.

She will also be competing alongside her husband and her daughter Natasja, who at the age of 18 is a field archery world record holder in her own right!

Karen began her archery career in 2010. After years of resistance to her husband’s hobby, himself an avid archer, she found she had a natural talent and hasn’t looked back.

“I absolutely love going to competitions with my family - it’s quality time for us in a beautiful setting, as well as great exercise and a memorable experience,” she said. “Next year my daughter will turn 19 and will be in the adult category with me - then things might get a bit more competitive!”

Her colleagues at West Suffolk Hospital are very supportive and love seeing Karen’s medals and trophies when she returns after a tournament.

Lesley Steward, Karen’s manager at WSFT, said: “Karen really is an inspiration to us. She is a wonderful assistant practitioner who can’t do enough for patients and colleagues across the Trust, but to fit her archery around her busy career as well is testament to her dedication and strength. She’s a superwoman!”

Karen has worked at WSFT for 15 years, formerly a healthcare assistant she trained to be an assistant practitioner five years ago. Karen said: “As an assistant practitioner I fulfil many of the duties of a trained nurse, except dealing with medication. The best part of my job is meeting and getting to know our patients, and my family are very proud of what I do.

“I studied for two years to earn my Foundation Degree qualification to become a practitioner, doing three days a week at college, and two days on the wards. It was really tough, especially factoring in archery in the evenings and weekends. I don’t think I could have done it all without the support of my family and my colleagues at the hospital.”

The IFAA European Championships take place in Hohegeiss, Germany from 31 July to 5 August 2017.

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Karen Pinches and Lesley Steward

Karen Pinches and Lesley Steward