Freddie rules the country

Suffolk teenager Freddie Arthey has been crowned 'Young Countryman of the Year' after beating off stiff competition in two rounds of pentathlon competition.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

Suffolk teenager Freddie Arthey has been crowned 'Young Countryman of the Year' after beating off stiff competition in two rounds of pentathlon competition.

The 14 year-old, who lives on a farm in the small village of Semer, near Hadleigh, first heard about the brand new competition when seeing an advert for the regional round at Sandringham in the local press back in April.


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Although the Ipswich School pupil is an all-round sportsman, having represented his school at tennis and hockey among other sports, he had very little experience in the young countryman disciplines of clay shooting, falconry, field archery, dog handling and archery.

Arthey said: “I had done some shooting at home but never competitively. I have also had dogs since I was born, but again I had never really been taught how to handle them.

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“I was interested in the falconry though because when I was younger I had held and set free a sparrow hawk that had been stuck in one of the hedges near our house.”

After entering the Living Heritage run competition, which saw a number of qualifying rounds run in conjunction with the various regional Game and Country Shows around the country, Arthey was then sent an information starter pack on the five different disciplines he would be competing in.

He also sought training from several experts in the fields in Suffolk, including an introduction to falconry at Stonham Barnes and some archery training at Gipping Valley.

After just four months of training, Arthey then won the regional round at Sandringham with wins in the clay shooting and angling, as well as second places in the falconry and archery.

That win qualified Arthey for the national final of the under-16 competition, for which he had to travel to Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire.

In the final, Arthey reversed his regional performance to produce wins in the falconry and angling, with second places in the clay shooting and archery, and claim the first ever national title of 'Young Countryman of the Year'.

Arthey said: “I just entered for the experience really, I never thought that I would win the whole competition. I will definitely be trying to retain my title next year though as I will still be young enough.

“I have really enjoyed the fishing, because that was a lot better than I expected. The best experience though was the falconry. Handling and being so close to such powerful birds makes you feel very powerful.

“The thing I will continue most with competitively though will probably be the shooting.”

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