The local darts scene is mourning the loss of a legend following the death of Paddy Reeson.
Paddy, who was one of the biggest characters in the sport for over five decades, passed away peacefully at Longueville Court Nursing Home on Tuesday. She was 86 and had been battling dementia for the last couple of years.
Paddy devoted her whole life to the game of darts.
Her love of the board game blossomed in her early teen years after her mother and step-father took charge of the Durham Ox pub between Thorney and Crowland.
She threw her first dart at the tender age of 12 and more milestones soon followed.
She became the youngest ever participant in the old News Of The World tournament when taking to the oche in the 1950s and was a key part of the Cambridgeshire Ladies A team for their two British Inter-Counties Premier Division successes in 1989 and 1999.
She was also the non-playing England Ladies captain for eight years from 1995 to 2003 and led her country to stacks of honours. In fact, during her reign England were only ever beaten in one major competition.
Paddy was also chairman of the International Darts Players Association as well as vice-chairman for Cambridgeshire. She was also prominently involved with the local Peterborough Ladies League for over 30 years.
Three-times world champion Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams was a former county team-mate of Paddy’s.
He said: “I played alongside Paddy for about 15 years and she was a great player. We played mixed doubles together and won the knockout competition three years on the spin, so we stopped to give the others a chance!
“She was a great humoured lady and it was always a pleasure and an honour to play with her. She did so much for the ladies game.”
Paddy once said of Wolfie: “He s been like a son to me. He gives me a hand when I need it and takes me to matches if I want to go. He’s lovely!”
Cambridgeshire chairman Peter Melton posted the following on the county’s Facebook page:
“I’m very sad to have to announce that former Cambridgeshire player, Paddy Reeson has passed away.
“Paddy served the county as a player, ladies captain, selector and vice-chairman.
“I’m now in my 40th year with Cambridgeshire and there have been some fantastic players in that time and every now and then I try and think who would be in my all-time Cambridgeshire teams. It varies from time to time as I remember different players but Paddy’s name is always there. She was a fantastic player and more importantly one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet and work with.
“When I took over as chairman of the county it was a very difficult time for me personally and the county in general and to have Paddy as vice-chairman was such a massive help and I still think about a lot of the things she advised me on to this very day.
“Today is a sad day for her daughter Tina and the family and my thoughts are with them on this terrible day. It is also a sad day for Cambridgeshire darts as without doubt we have lost a legend who will be sadly missed by everyone who had the honour to have met her.
“I was once asked to present the trophies at one of the Peterborough Ladies League awards nights and Paddy was the winner of the ladies singles. While I was waiting for her to come up and collect the cup I looked at the trophy to see who else had won it and she dominated the league to the point that on that evening she was collecting the trophy for the 30th time.
“When her name was called out she received a standing ovation from every single person in the packed hall. For me that summed up that not only was she a great darts player but more importantly she was a very nice person.
“I’m sure many more people will have some great memories and stories to tell. She might not be with us any longer but she will be in our thoughts.
“This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to put on this page, but I hope that every single player who wears a Cambridgeshire shirt this coming weekend in the match against Hertfordshire, whether they had the privilege to know her or just know of her, throws every dart with the determination that she did.”
The funeral is at Peterborough Crematorium on Tuesday November 13 at 11.30am.