Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Sports stars attend Waddell funeral

Darts commentator Sid Waddell died earlier this month following a battle against bowel cancer
Eric Bristow (left) and Andrew Flintoff , arrive for the funeral of former darts commentator Sid Waddell

Sports stars including Freddie Flintoff and Eric Bristow have gathered for the funeral of the "voice of darts", Sid Waddell.

Flintoff and Bristow arrived together at the service in Pudsey, West Yorkshire. They were followed into the Parish Church by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling and the chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation, Barry Hearn.

Football commentator John Helm said as he arrived: "If we'd had an Olympic games for commentators he would have won the gold medal so many times. He was top of the tree. We are here to pay tribute to a colossus of his trade."

Waddell died earlier this month at the age of 72, following a battle against bowel cancer. He was one of the most recognisable figures in the sport, famed for his unique one-liners delivered in his trademark North East accent.

The church was packed for the hour-long service which featured tributes from Hearn, Sky Sports commentator Dave Lanning and Waddell's son Dan. There was no coffin brought in as Waddell was cremated at a private service earlier.

In his eulogy, Hearn talked about the commentator's "frenetic, Geordie frenzy" style. He said: "We wouldn't be where we are today without his service to the sport. Painting those pictures, those Picassos, Sid took a pub game and made it a global phenomenon."

Hearn told the congregation how a new trophy named after Waddell would be presented at the PDC World Championships.

In his tribute, Dan Waddell said: "To me he was more like a mate. We could speak about sport. We could speak about books. We could speak about anything. I'll miss those chats. I'll miss my mate."

Outside there were more tribute to Waddell. Flintoff described the fun he had joining his friend in the TV commentary box.

He said: "At home we'd spend hours watching him entertaining us on TV as well. He was a great man and it was a fitting tribute today when the theme of the service was all about his character and how much fun he was. He was just great to be around."

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