Friends' bow tribute to Calne's larger than life archer
An arch of bows over Tony Knowler’s coffin provided a fitting tribute to the former world field archery champion at his funeral yesterday.
Members of the Druids Field Archers, based at Bremhill, and retired archers from the Calne Field Archery Club stood at the door of St Mary’s Church in Calne to give their friend a final send off.
Mr Knowler, of London Road, Calne, was crowned World Field Archery Champion in 1991 at Confalon, France.
He shared his love of archery with others when he set up the Calne Field Archery Club at Foxham shortly after moving to the area in 1981.
Following his death on February 7 at the age of 75, his wife Shirley and daughters Jackie and Julie gathered to remember a husband and father who they said was larger than life.
His wicker coffin entered the church to Ennio Morricone's theme from the film A Fistful of Dollars and left to Eric Idle's Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life from AMonty Python's Life of Brian.
The Reverend Bob Kenway, who led the service reflected on Tony’s younger years when he spent three years as a cowboy in Canada, worked as a landscape gardener specialising in water features and was part of the Richmond Ice Hockey team in London.
Later Tony’s daughter Julie spoke fondly of her father’s escapades, including the time he was stopped by security staff during a day trip to the London Eye for carrying several penknives.
She said when her dad was younger people used to mistake him for Kirk Douglas but as he got older he was often mistaken for Spike Milligan instead.
She said: “He was different from other dads and we loved him for that.”
He was also well known in the town after he set up Carter’s Convenience Store and TK Tackle and this was how Deputy Town Mayor Mercy Baggs got to know him.
She said: “I knew Tony for 27 years. He was a fantastic person. He was fun, he was a gentleman and he was very a knowledgeable man.
“My husband and I used to go fishing and his daughter Jackie is a very good friend of mine. We used to get fishing tackle from the shop and he made my husband a couple of walking sticks.”
J R Dawson, from the Calne Community Hub, said: “He was one of the best archers that Wiltshire ever had I think. What can you say about a chap who has done it all and been the best at all he has done?
“He was one of the nicest people you could ever meet and not big headed about what he had done, he was very quiet and humble about his achievements.”