Giant Viking helmet and a darts board among the floral tributes for Andy Fordham as the darts legend is laid to rest following his death last month from organ failure, aged just 59
- The Bristol-born darts legend died on July 15 with his wife, Jenny, by his side
- He caught Covid earlier this year, revealing it was ‘the scariest thing’ he faced
- Fordham had suffered from numerous health problems and once weighed 31st
- Family and friends of the Viking held an invite-only funeral today in Sidcup, Kent
Darts legend Andy Fordham was laid to rest today as hundreds of friends and family came to pay their respects at his funeral.
‘The Viking’, as he was known to fans of his sport, was remembered by around 200 mourners at a service in Chislehurst, south east London.
Fordham died of major organ failure in hospital last month aged just 59.
Mourners arrived at Kemnal Park Crematorium for 12.30pm to the sound of bagpipes who lead the procession, commemorating his Scottish heritage and his passion for Rangers football club.
Among those present were dart legends Tony O’Shea, Nicky Turner, Harold Witham and also former Rangers goalkeeper Andy Goram.
As the hearse arrived, a wreath in the shape of a giant Viking helmet was laid on the lawn along with a huge darts board floral display.
Darts legend Andy Fordham, known to fans as ‘The Viking’, was remembered by mourners at a funeral service in Chislehurst, south east London following his death aged 59 last month
Fordham’s wife Jenny revealed he had died of major organ failure in hospital last month aged just 59
A wreath in the shape of a giant Viking helmet, a nod to his nickname, was laid on the lawn along with a huge darts board floral display
Mourners arrived at Kemnal Park Crematorium for 12.30pm to the sound of bagpipes who lead the procession, commemorating his Scottish heritage and his passion for Rangers football club
Blue and white flowers, the colours of Scotland, were laid beneath it alongside a Union Jack wreath.
The lawn was carpeted in more wreaths and bouquets from devastated family and friends hugging and sobbing as they remembered the darts legend.
A mix of sports colleagues who joked together remembered their favourite pub moments as well as close family still coming to terms with the news.
More than 200 mourners gathered into the chapel while Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon played.
The soundtrack, chosen by Fordham himself, also included the Foo Fighters and even Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m Too Sexy’ – causing his family to joke about how his music taste ranged from Sinatra and Grease the Musical to AC/DC and Led Zeppelin.
Paying tribute to her father, daughter Emily Fordham said during the service: ‘You left us heartbroken and lost wondering what life would be like without you.
Tributes to The Viking: a wreath created in the shape of a Viking helmet is adorned with a beer mug on the lawn outside Kemnal Park Cemetery and Crematorium
A darts board is signed by family and friends paying tribute to Fordham. At his peak Fordham was crowned world champion in 2004 after defeating Mervyn King at the BDO World Championship
A copy of the order of service for Fordham’s funeral
Fordham’s wife Jenny stands with mourners for the funeral procession
More than 200 mourners gathered into the chapel while Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon played
‘The Viking’, as he was known to fans of his sport, was remembered by mourners at a service in Chislehurst, south east London
‘It’s only been a few weeks but already your laughter, your big cuddles, you are so missed. Your stupid jokes that would take it ages to get out because you couldn’t stop laughing at yourself. They weren’t even funny, it was you that made it funny.
‘You’ve made a hole in our family and things are not going to be the same without you.
‘We all loved you so much, the kids adored you so much. They are what kept you going through your low days.
‘You said you couldn’t wait to get better so all the grandkids see you on the stage. But they’ll always have the videos to show people their grandad, the legend.
‘I’m going to miss you so much treacle but I’ve got your memories to keep me going, the terrible singing, the endless laughing and my passenger seat opinions that drove you mad.
Andy’s best friend David ‘Stevo’ Stevenson, said in the service: ‘Andy was always really fun to be around, whether it was a family do, lakeside, an exhibition, one of the other or just an ordinary league game’
Paying tribute to her father, daughter Emily Fordham said during the service: ‘You left us heartbroken and lost wondering what life would be like without you’
‘I’ll never be able to listen to My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion without a few tears.’
Andy’s best friend David ‘Stevo’ Stevenson, said in the service: ‘Andy was always really fun to be around, whether it was a family do, lakeside, an exhibition, one of the other or just an ordinary league game.
He remembered a time Andy broke his wrist and accidentally took Stevo’s shaving cream as deodorant and covered himself in head to toe ‘he looked like he’d been in a snowstorm’.
He said: ‘He made us all laugh, he’s been called many names over the years, world champion, legend, plus loads of names I can’t say here.’
Breaking down into tears he continued: ‘But over the 30 years I’ve known Andy, all I see is husband, dad, grandad, son and mate and that’s what he was to me, my mate, I love you.’
The service concluded with everyone chanting ‘theres only one Andy Fordham, one Andy Fordham, walking along, singing a song, walking in a Fordham wonderland’.
At his peak Fordham was crowned world champion in 2004 after defeating Mervyn King at the BDO World Championship.
But he suffered from serious health problems and once weighed 31 stone and drank 25 bottles of lager a day.
Andy Fordham celebrates with the winner’s cheque and trophy after winning the Final of the Lakeside World Professional Darts Championship
The Bristol-born darts icon (above) died on Thursday with his wife, Jenny, by his side
Following his world championship triumph, he faced off against Phil Taylor in a box office clash titled The Showdown in 2005, but collapsed at the oche.
Friends said he had been fighting ill health for 14 months before his death, but his determination to get better meant he bravely gave little hint of any problems publicly.
He also contracted coronavirus in January this year and revealed to The Sun in a tearful interview that doctors warned him that the disease could hit him ‘very quickly’.
‘This is the scariest thing I’ve ever had to face in my life,’ he said.
‘My biggest fear is waking up one morning, not being able to breathe and being placed in the back of the ambulance – then not seeing my wife and children again.
‘When you get the virus you suddenly realise everything you take for granted.
‘I am sitting thinking a lot about all the things I’d miss if this virus overcomes me, like seeing my grandchildren grow up. I’m just hoping and praying I come through it.’
Last month it was confirmed that he had passed away in hospital after suffering major organ failure.
His devoted wife Jenny, who was at his bedside as he passed away, said in tribute to him today: ‘Andy was, is, and always will be my champion’.
A statement on the British Darts Organisation website said: ‘The British Darts Organisation is deeply saddened to hear of the loss of the darts legend Andy (The Viking) Fordham, a true gentleman of the game who will be deeply missed by all.
‘Our hearts and thoughts are with his family at this time.’
Fordham’s final professional appearance came in 2018 at the World Masters.
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