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New Year’s honour for Frank!

December 30th 2017
Jane Percival

Frank Mulligan, who has been at the heart of Northern Ireland archery for decades, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the 2018 New Year’s honours list.

And the 74-year-old, who is being recognised for his services to archery and the arts, could not be more proud.

He said: “It is fantastic recognition not just for myself but my wife Pat and our family. It is also a great honour for the Ballyvally Archery Club and everyone connected with our sport across Northern Ireland.

“I’m very grateful and feel humbled to be selected for a British Empire Medal and want to thank all the club volunteers who have helped me over many years, the local community and the people of Banbridge who have always supported me.

“I want to continue giving to the sport of archery and the arts in whatever way I can and look forward to doing that in the future.”

For the past 47 years, he has coached thousands of archers in Northern Ireland inspiring many to local, national and international success. They include his children Peter, who won two gold medals at the World Championships in 1998 and 2004 when he was part of GB Field teams, and Edel, a European barebow champion in 1999 and junior world champion in 2000.

He has also founded a host of archery clubs, including St Patrick’s (1970), Banbridge (1975), Craigavon (1988), St Mary’s (1988) and Ballyvally (1996) where he was chairman for almost two decades.

The former GB Coach of the Year still coaches for more than 20 hours per week on a voluntary basis as well as setting up field archery courses around Northern Ireland. He has also organised major events such as the British Open and All-Ireland Championships and field archery at the World Police and Fire Games when they were staged in Northern Ireland in 2013.

In 2011, he beat seven other regional unsung heroes to a one-off national award presented to mark the society’s 150th anniversary.

The BEM also recognises his work in the arts. In 1974, he helped to found the Banbridge Speech and Drama Committee. It is still going strong and runs a very successful annual festival and summer school.

Chairman of Archery Northern Ireland Steven Beacom said: “For Frank to receive the British Empire Medal is deserved recognition for a wonderful man who, along with his wife Pat, has put his life and soul into the great sport of archery.

“Frank is an iconic figure in archery in Northern Ireland and beyond. It would be impossible to count the number of people, young and not so young, he has inspired over the years and I know he is far from finished.

“Everyone involved with Archery NI will be delighted that Frank is in the New Year’s Honours List.”

Chief Executive of Archery GB Neil Armitage added: “What Frank Mulligan has done for archery over the past 47 years has been extraordinary.

“He not only goes down as a great coach, but a great man for everything he has given to the sport and his community. No one deserves this award more than Frank.”

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