Retirement is a blast for top gun Alan

Retiring from his day job is set to give Alan Coy more time to spend on his hobby - at which he is one of the best in the world.

FELIXSTOWE: Retiring from his day job is set to give Alan Coy more time to spend on his hobby - at which he is one of the best in the world.

Mr Coy, 66, has retired from his work as a surveyor at Felixstowe estate agents and surveyors Bannister and Co, where he has worked for the past 42 years.

But when he is not surveying homes for sale, he is to be found shooting - and recently returned from Australia as runner-up in the super veteran class of the world championships for sporting clays, where 1,000 competitors took part.

It capped an amazing year for him, as he took third place overall in the European Championships, where he was also a member of the Great Britain gold winning team.

“I am only missing the individual gold, and sadly there wasn't enough of us super-veterans out in Australia to make a team so we couldn't go for the team trophy, but it has been a good year and really enjoyable,” said Mr Coy, who lives with his wife Carol in Felixstowe.

Mr Coy, who has two grown up children, was brought up on a farm and has handled shotguns since he was around 12.

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Once he got settled at his career at Bannisters, in Hamilton Road, where he became a partner, in his mid-20s he joined the Clay Pigeon Association and took up the activity as his hobby.

His exploits have taken him all over the world in international events, including USA, France, Italy, Austria, Germany and Cyprus.

“As well some very high standard shooting to enjoy and take part in, it's a great social life - and I've made some lovely friends over the years who you meet up with at most championships,” said Mr Coy.

Reflecting on his years at Bannisters, in which he has seen the resort grow from a small seaside town to the county's fourth biggest town, he said: “There have been a lot of changes and I have really enjoyed it.”

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FASTFACTS: Sporting clays

Sporting clays is an advanced form of clay pigeon shooting - described by some as “golf with a shotgun”.

Competitors move from base to base shooting targets of different sizes and colours.

The targets are thrown out from the traps in a large variety of trajectories, angles, speeds, and distances.

The aim is to replicate hunting more closely than clay pigeon shooting.