THE family of the late Andy Fordham hope a new darts event this month will “keep alive” his glorious oche feats.
In honour of his nickname within the sport, the inaugural Viking Cup will take place at the Indigo nightclub at The O2 in London on Sunday.
More than 400 men and women have entered the WDF-sanctioned competition, including three-time Lakeside finalist Tony O’Shea, with funds raised for the Heart of Darts charity.
It is being held in memory of the 2004 BDO world darts champion who died aged 59 in July 2021 after suffering major organ failure.
Videos of his three-decade career will be played on arena screens and winners will secure a paid spot at the PDC Qualifying School in January 2023.
Son Raymond, 36, from south-east London, told SunSport: “Dad was universally loved. And I didn’t realise how much until after he died.
“I had messages, pictures and stories sent on Twitter by people I had never met. There was an outpour of love. From people like Neil Ruddock, Tim Vine and Jonny Vegas.
“Dad was genuine. He always had time for everyone, would always take the time to sit and talk to everyone, take pictures and sign autographs.
“This event will keep his memory alive and keep alive what he achieved in darts.
“I have entered the draw but I’m sure I will be an absolute mess on the day.
“I inherited his emotional capability – which is next to none! My mum and sister are the strong ones.”
Fordham was a popular and charismatic figure in darts and reached his peak when he beat Mervyn King 18 years ago in the world final on the Lakeside stage.
The former Dartford publican had his battles with alcohol and was able to drink up to 24 bottles of lager before a match. Or sometimes nine or ten bottles of wine.
As a Rangers fan – his uncle used to take him to Ibrox matches – he formed a long-term friendship with Andy Goram following a beer-and-vodka-fuelled night out together.
The former Scottish goalkeeper, who died in July, was best man at his wedding to wife Jenny and acted as a pallbearer at Fordham’s funeral last year.
Yet Fordham never touched booze again after January 2007 when he collapsed and was rushed to hospital at Lakeside after suffering chest pains and breathing problems.
Fordham never officially retired from the sport – he wanted his eight grandkids to see him play on the stage at least one more time.
And the extraordinary reception he received during the 2015 PDC Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton will live long in the memory for his close family.
Raymond, who works in construction, said: “People saw him a lot drinking but if we were at home, he never drank.
“It was a persona or reputation almost. And of course it is an alcohol-fuelled sport.
“People would drive from Holland just to have a drink with him. He didn’t see himself as a celebrity and never wanted to disappoint anyone.
“In darts, I think Dad showed that anything was possible. Anyone could achieve something if they really wanted to.”
For more info on the Viking Cup, visit www.shownights.com
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