We are sad to announce that Tony Farrell passed away in his sleep on Monday night this week. Tony has been involved in archery for about 25 years, and was a founder member of this club. I have known Tony for most of that time, and first met him, I think, at a local field archery club, Muscovy Archers. Tony had been suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, where the immune system attacks the insulation around nerve fibres, leading to loss of sensation and muscle control. It was the initial diagnosis that led him into archery, as I believe a doctor encouraged him to go out and do some sort of coordinated physical activity as he thought it might help slow down the progression of the illness. When I first met Tony he was noticeably a bit wobbly on his feet, and over the years I have seen him progress to occasionally needing a wheelchair, to being confined to the chair, to needing a powered chair, to being left with only the use of his right arm and having difficulty speaking. MS can be very variable in its effect on people, and Tony was particularly hard hit.
It is no exaggeration to say that archery was Tony’s life. He put a lot into it, always keen to experiment with different bits and bobs for his compound bow, and joining in with many local competitions. He trained as a coach some years ago, and has given a lot to the club while he could, especially having a rapport with the juniors. We did our best to help Tony to keep him involved in the archery that he loved, from a sponsored 24-hour shoot in the early days to raise money for a car with hand controls, to more recent devices clamped onto his wheelchair to support his arm. Huge recognition has to go to Paul Phillips in particular as he has gone above and beyond to help with driving him around, sorting out carers and other domestic issues and even physically helping him shoot.
Throughout all his Tony never once complained, and maintained his sharp sense of humour and his determination to keep as active as he could, despite what must have been great discomfort and frustration at not being able to do what he used to. His condition had noticeably deteriorated in recent months, but it is still a shock to hear of his passing.
He will be greatly missed.