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Captain Les wins four gold medals
As well as being at the helm of Bairnsdale brigade for the past nine years, Captain Les Beechey loves spending his time shooting clay discs out of the sky.
And he’s very good at it.
At the end of October Les represented Australia at the World Firefighters Games for the first time, held in Sydney, and strolled away with four gold medals in the 50 target skeet events.
Skeet is a form of trapshooting, or clay pigeon shooting, where two targets are flung into the air at varying heights and speeds from two traps, and the aim is to shoot them with a double-barrelled shotgun.
“I started shooting when I was 16 and entered competitions,” said Les. “But I stopped shooting for about 10 years and only got back into it about one-and-a-half years ago when my 12-year-old son said he was interested in learning.”
Les warmed up for the World Firefighters Games by competing in the Police and Emergency Services Games in Bendigo earlier this year.
The skeet event was held at the shooting complex used for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. And, like the Olympics, Les said it was an opportunity to make friends with people from overseas.
“I was shooting against a Frenchman who I didn’t talk to for quite a while but then we started chatting and we ended up swapping some memorabilia and have since emailed each other,” said Les.
His family went to Sydney with him, which thrilled his 8-year-old daughter. “My daughter wore my medals all week in Sydney and loved it.”
But Les’s extended family – Bairnsdale brigade members – didn’t forget him while he was away. “They’re a good bunch of people, very supportive, and they texted me in Sydney.”
And to show how much Bairnsdale brigade means to him, Les has given one of his medals to the brigade, where it sits in the trophy cabinet.