“I decided to move to Burnley,” says Roy Kennedy, an Abderdonian who somewhat appropriately lives in Airdrie Crescent, Burnley, “after meeting my wife on the internet.”
It was a big move, but Roy, an avid darts player who played six times a week in Scotland, wanted to give his relationship ‘a fighting chance.’ “15 years later and we are happily married.”
This is the first time in 12 years I have felt well enough to actually do something to repay my gratitude to all the staff members for being there for me and my familyRoy
Roy - who had previously qualified for the World Winmau Masters in 1996 - took up darts in Padiham, playing in the super league. But when he was diagnosed with a sarcoma, a cancerous tumour, on his leg in 2003, matters threatened to fall apart for the adopted Lancastrian.
“The site of the operation took over a year to heal,” said Roy, 49, who underwent an operation later that year. “Everything goes through your mind every time you get a twinge, and being in constant pain was just par for the course.”
Sadly, in 2012, Roy found another lump, and underwent a second operation almost nine years to the day after his first. This time, the wound ‘behaved’.
Fit again, Roy wants to give back to the organisations that helped him in the way he best knows how: darts. Roy is keen to host the inaugural Burnley Charity Darts Open, with proceeds going to Cancer UK, Sarcoma UK and Pendleside Hospice, and wants to make the event an annual one to support local charities.
“For this year’s charity open, I have been selfish and chose Cancer UK and Sarcoma UK,” he said. “They helped me over the past 12 years and will continue to help me in future. No matter how big, small or totally stupid you might think a question or problem is, the staff go out of their way to make you feel at ease and also help you work through any problems you might have.
“I would like to make the event a reason to support the local community. This is the first time in 12 years I have felt well enough to actually do something to repay my gratitude to all the staff members for being there for me and my family.”
Darts represents a personal aspect in Roy’s life. His late mother-in-law, Pat Harrison, was herself a darts aficionado, playing the night before suffering a stoke, which unfortunately lead to her losing the use of the right half of her body and which impaired her speech. “Another reason for opting to try to make this event happen is to allow some of her friends to say goodbye to her,” explained Roy. “People wanted to say farewell in a way my mother in law would love: a game of darts and a booze up. For this reason, if we can, I would like the ladies to play for the ‘Pat Harrison Memorial Trophy’.”
Keen for sponsors for the event, Roy offers the chance to sponsor a dart board for £100, and welcomes donations of £5 or £10 as well as any prospective raffle prizes.
It does not pay to bet against Roy Kennedy, who says: “If it doesn’t happen this year, then I will try even harder for next year.” After all, he owes Pat one final send off.
“Sadly, we never did manage to play in the mixed double competition,” he says.