HEREFORDSHIRE’s crack clay pigeon star Emma Parkinson has blasted her way to the top with her remarkable skill and expertise.

Currently lady national champion, the 20-year-old from Brimfield, who struggled with poor eyesight for much of her life, has swept the board at the Scottish Open Championship in Edinburgh. More recently, the law student returned home victorious from Belfast where she represented England in the Home International in Belfast.

Undergoing laser eye surgery two years ago has brought a huge impetus to Emma’s already busy life. Following her mother Amanda’s passion for horses, Emma has been taking part in top-flight events since the age of four. After a riding accident which damaged her back, she took up her father Ian’s suggestion to join him at a clay-shooting ground and the rest, as they say, is history.

“In Scotland I was joint high gun overall with England captain Neil Faulkner and after a shoot-off, I was runner-up overall,” explains Emma, who still sticks with her father’s old Browning shotgun. North of the border, her performance resulted in a string of championships - her lady, junior and non-international champion titles as well as being a class winner.

Across the Irish Sea, Emma was part of the England team which won all categories and was finally declared overall home international champions. Emma was ranked number three in the UK lady ranks last year after only beginning her shooting career in 2015 and is hoping for top honours this year.

“On the horizon is the national championship in October which I won last year,” she says.

Until having surgery, Emma’s exceptional success in the clay shooting world could not have happened. At school she could barely see the blackboard, now she has 20/20 vision and is a wholehearted advocate for the treatment.

The former Lucton School pupil, who is starting her second year at university in Cheltenham, explains: “I couldn’t see the blackboard even if I was sitting at the front of the class.”

She admits she was “too embarrassed” to wear glasses when she was younger.

Emma had to work hard at equestrian competitions due to her sight. Before an event, she had to walk the course and study the fences. “I had to do that to see where I was going, it was such a pain!” she says.

She is having nerve treatment for her back injury, and considering having an operation at some point to allow her to return to eventing. In the meantime, she is going all out to scoop even greater glory in clay shooting.

Emma praises her parents for their support, her “amazing” coach, David Beardsmore, and her boyfriend, fellow clay enthusiast, Jack Miles.