Ben is the eldest of three, and became seriously ill with kidney problems to the point of urgent transplant when he was 12. Having no immediate or likely donor, Ben’s father volunteered – all went ahead with the operation; successfully.
Ben was at school when the Deputy Head of Sutton Valence appointed ACA as their Archery instructor in 2012, and Ben was in the first group of students showing both skill and enthusiasm. ACA’s Adrian Caddy soon met his Mum and learned about the medical condition which prevented Ben from taking up any risky contact sport like rugby.; which is a shame, says Adrian – he has the build and prowess to be a superb prop forward! But rugby’s loss was archery’s gain.
In 2014 Adrian received a phone call from Ben’s Mum Vicki – with the news that Ben had not only been entered into the Transplant Games Archery Tournament; he won the Gold Medal. The following year, Sutton Valence was one of the UK schools with students in The NASP World Championships in Nashville, Tennessee. (NASP is the National Archery in the Schools Program, founded in Kentucky in 2002 and is now the world’s biggest, widest reaching and SAFEST Archery Education system). Ben shot his usual best and made friends with other archers from the US, Canada, South Africa and Namibia. Britain was there for the first time and faced some formidable opposition as an 11-strong newcomer. The designated UK captain dropped out 5 days before departure so Ben and another SVS archer were made joint Team Leaders.
Landing back in Heathrow, Ben’s Dad was there to drive him straight to the train station and a long haul up to Newcastle – where he was scheduled to shoot in the Archery section of The Transplant Games; complete with jet-lag! He won Gold for the second time.
The following year was last year, 2016 – and for the 3rd consecutive event; Ben Stuart became Archery Gold Medallist to the enormous pride of his family, school and instructor Adrian Caddy. “Ben is a trier and achiever” says Adrian. “His can-do, will-do approach works in all things and not just his bow-shooting.”
Ben now works with ACA at Living Heritage Events and other activities (that don’t trespass on his exams!) Adrian had been under the impression that The Transplant Games were for juniors who had overcome the rigours of their surgery – but it is a National Event for all ages. Ben’s triple Gold is therefore even MORE outstanding.