Club open new facility after almost five years of work on former water works site.

Bideford Target Shooting Club's Melbury Ranges. Picture: Matt SmartBideford Target Shooting Club's Melbury Ranges. Picture: Matt Smart

Bideford Target Shooting Club ushered in a new era for on Sunday as they opened their new home.

Around 100 people attended the opening of the club’s Melbury Ranges as some five years of work were brought to fruition.

Bideford TSC chairman Simon Dafforn and Accuracy International director Dave Walls with the club's commemorative plaque.Bideford TSC chairman Simon Dafforn and Accuracy International director Dave Walls with the club's commemorative plaque.

The range was opened by guest of honour Dave Walls, director of sniper rifle manufacturer Accuracy International.

Walls unveiled a commemorative plaque inside the main building, as well as firing the range’s inaugural shot, which will be mounted on the premises.

Bideford TSC chairman Simon Dafforn gave a speech to visitors. Picture: Matt SmartBideford TSC chairman Simon Dafforn gave a speech to visitors. Picture: Matt Smart

Starting from a derelict and overgrown water works site at the end of 2014, the club’s new home has been transformed into a top class firing point building and a 100 yard range.

Chairman Simon Dafforn thanked the club’s members, admitting a handful had ‘lived almost permanently on site’ to help complete the site.

Dave Walls unveiled the commemorative plaque. Picture: Matt SmartDave Walls unveiled the commemorative plaque. Picture: Matt Smart

He added: “Like most rifle clubs, we jogged along very happily for decades in various premises which didn’t belong to us, and we achieved a good measure of success in that time.

“In 2006 everything started to go wrong, with the ranges we used either being closed or being sold.

Bideford Target Shooting Club members produced a 15-minute demonstration at the open day. Picture: Matt SmartBideford Target Shooting Club members produced a 15-minute demonstration at the open day. Picture: Matt Smart

“It is to the club’s credit that we never considered this was the end, and to cut a very long story short, eventually at the end of 2012 we bought this site.

“My job and my pleasure is to try and thank everybody who has played a part in the project.”

Dave Walls fired the inaugural shot at Melbury Ranges. Picture: Matt SmartDave Walls fired the inaugural shot at Melbury Ranges. Picture: Matt Smart

After the presentation and inaugural shot, members gave a 15-minute demonstration of the various disciplines practiced at the club.

The open day marked the end of phase one of Bideford’s Melbury project, with plans for 25 yard and 10 metre ranges in the pipeline as well as a club room.

Mr Walls said he was ‘blown away’ by the facilities at the range.

He added: “To come here and see this magnificent set-up, I’m speechless. It really is something.

“I take my hat off to these guys, they’ve done a fantastic job.”