The 'Voice of Darts' remembered: Stars turn out for Sid Waddell's funeral service
15:46 GMT, 22 August 2012
Sports stars including Andrew Flintoff and Eric Bristow gathered for the funeral of the 'voice of darts', Sid Waddell.
Flintoff and Bristow arrived together at the service in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, on Wednesday.
They were followed into the Parish Church by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling and the chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation, Barry Hearn.
Paying respects: Eric Bristow (left) and Andrew Flintoff
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.
'Every time I was with Sid he always made me laugh.
'He was a man with so much eloquence he could stop the world with his commentaries.'
Friends: Keith Deller and Jeff Stelling and Barry Hearn (below, right)
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.
Northumberland-born and a Cambridge graduate, Waddell was a central part of Sky Sports' coverage of PDC darts events since 1994.
He was known for his colourful and
excitable commentary style, with his best-known lines including 'There's
only one word for it – 'magic darts'.'
He also noted, while watching Bristow
become world champion: 'When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried
salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer … Bristow's
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 today.
Family: Dan Waddell, left, Sid's son leaves Pusdey Parish Church with Sid's wife Irene
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 tributes 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.
'There's not too many people who can make people smile instantly and spread happiness almost. He'll be sadly missed.'
Voice of darts: The legendary commentator will be remembered
Speaking outside, Hearn said: 'He was a very smart guy, a very bright man, but he never lost his love for working-class people.
'He hated snobbery of any type, and darts, to him, was a proper game, a proper sport.
'Who else can call Cliff Lazarenko and Jocky Wilson athletes
'He believed it with a passion and it was his passion that came through.'
He added: 'He was a total one-off and
in the world of sport the word 'legend' is often over-used, but in Sid
Waddell it's an understatement.'
Insight: Waddell offered superb knowledge of darts and spoke with humour
Keith Deller, who won the World
Championship in 1983, said Waddell projected darts worldwide as a sport
in the 1980s when many commentators wrote it off as a game for fat beer
'He was a very intelligent man,' Deller said.
'I think he was a lot more intelligent than the people who were writing against us. He really did give us a lot of credibility.
'He had so much enthusiasm for every game.'
Darts veteran Cliff Lazarenko said: 'I don't think, unfortunately, there'll be anyone else to replace Sid.
'He was, once and for all, one of the greatest commentators for our sport.
'And he was a good friend of the darts players. If he didn't have something kind to say, he didn't say it.
'Sid was Sid and it was always a pleasure to be in his company.'
Broad palate: As well as commentating, Waddell also wrote books