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Thimbleby Estate

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Introducing our expert team of instructors

If you’re hoping to visit us here at Thimbleby Shooting Ground for your first ever taste of clay shooting, or to improve your clay dusting to missing ratio, you might want to learn a little more about our instructor team before you book. In this blog we’ll introduce you to the people who share their expertise with our customers day in, day out, and share a little about their background and specialisms.


Our team of instructors have a combined ?? years of experience in clay shooting instruction between them and they all share one key attribute – they want to ensure our guests improve their shooting AND enjoy every moment of their lesson. That means they will take you through the steps to learning safe shooting at the pace that suits you best, listen to your feedback and get you dusting clays in no time! If you’re already an experienced shot, our instructors can help you take your shooting to the next level, whether you’re hoping to compete in clay shooting competitions or head out into the field during the shooting season. Here’s the low down on our instructor team so that you know who’s who when you arrive here for your lesson…


Philip Thompson

Philip is our Senior Instructor and Shooting Ground Manager and is responsible for ensuring that all day-to-day operations on the ground run smoothly. When we develop new stands or make tweaks to our existing ones to make them a little more fiendish, it’s Philip who will have devised them! Philip joined Thimbleby in late 2019 and has helped to spearhead the transformation of the shooting ground during our recent period of investment and expansion. Philip introduced our Simulated Game Days which have proven to be very popular indeed and have given clay enthusiasts from across the country an even better reason to visit Thimbleby.

Philip is an experienced in-field instructor, so during the season you’ll find him discreetly instructing clients on shoot days across the country. Prior to joining us Philip ran his own successful shooting business and instructed at grounds across the north of England.


Dave Marwood

Dave is a British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC)-accredited coach who has been teaching shooting for over 10 years, as well as working with the BASC at countless game fairs, young shot days and other events. We reckon he’s solely responsible for introducing thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds to the sport of clay shooting over the years and helping the sport thrive – well done Dave!

Dave has over 40 years of game shooting experience and is a qualified loader, so during the game shooting season you’ll find him spending lots of time instructing and loading in the field.  spending much of the game season instructing and loading in the field. When he’s teaching Dave particularly enjoys helping everyone, children and adults alike, reach their full potential whilst enjoying themselves and developing a passion for shooting.


Russ Dickinson

Russ had a 30+ year career in the police force where he worked his way up from policing armed crime to being an instructor, armourer and expert witness in firearm-related matters. During his time teaching in the force, Russ also became very interested in the psychology of learning and began to study in his own time to develop his teaching techniques. Over a period of around four years, he gained an Advanced Certificate in Education, a post graduate diploma and a degree at Masters level in training and evaluation, and uses this extensive knowledge to help all our customers progress despite their varying learning needs and developmental requirements.

Russ is a CPSA qualified instructor and is a member of the Institute of Clay Shooting Instructors and is a very popular choice with our customers of all levels, helping on simulated game days, regular lessons and ground events. His favourite pastimes, when he isn’t teaching people to shoot, are enjoying simulated game days and helping prepare and run local driven game shoots. Russ learnt to shoot at the age of 12 and remembers his family raising and releasing birds when he was just six or seven years old, so it’s safe to say shooting is a lifelong passion for him.



Craig Bainbridge

Craig “Barney” Bainbridge is the most recent instructor to join our team here at Thimbleby, and he come to us following his retirement from the armed response wing of the police. We like the sound of a retirement spent sharing your passion for clay shooting with more people! Craig worked in the police service for 16 years and prior to that served in the military, where he also taught clay shooting. He also learnt to shoot as a child so we can’t possibly tell you how many years he’s been shooting for as that would mean sharing his age…

Luckily, we can tell you that he has a real passion for teaching people at all levels, from total novices taking their first shot to fellow lifelong guns. Craig is registered with the Association of Professional Shooting Instructors (APSI) and works for us on a freelance basis.


Stephen Dawson

Stephen is an experienced FITASC Level 2 Sporting and Compak Sporting coach as well as a game shooting instructor who specialises in in-field tuition. Stephen is also a qualified CPSA Level 2 (Sporting) coach, CPSA Level 1 instructor and a member of the CPSA Academy offering the basic and advanced Shotgun Skills Programme and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our instructing team, so we’re very lucky to have him.