In a real test of hand-eye co-ordination and throwing-arm strength, Colin Freeman is about to embark on a darts tour of England – aiming to score a stratospheric 1,000,001 points.
The minibus driver from Bury St Edmunds plans to visit 30 pubs in just 10 days to raise money for the ME Association and a children’s cancer charity. The tour launches at three of his locals on August 6 and then travels to Wetherspoons pubs the length and breadth of the country.
Colin, who was introduced to darts at the age of 14 by near neighbour Geoff Messenger, will be travelling with partner Gemma.
“I love a game of darts and usually play it three or four times a week”, said 68-year-old Colin, who captains teams at The Greyhound in Ixworth and the Pot Black Sports Bar in Bury St Edmunds – his first ports of call.
“But, when I’m playing competitively, I never touch a drop of alcohol and haven’t done so for many years.”
Colin has chosen to support the ME Association because his youngest daughter Stephanie (31) has suffered with the devastating post-viral illness for 20 years, ever since going down with glandular fever when she was 11.
“From her late teens, her health deteriorated every year and did so until she became bedridden for several weeks during a severe decline in early 2016”, Colin remembered. She was eventually diagnosed with M.E. six years ago; her husband David now looks after her.
“At the start of 2021, she was bedridden for 4-5 months with excruciating pain and fatigue. She lived in darkness and was very isolated due to severe sensitivity to sound, light and touch. She has been fighting hard for better health care and support since.”
Colin is also raising money for Young Lives vs Cancer, formerly children’s charity CLIC Sargent. He plays for the Summer Sixes Charity Darts League in his home town which traditionally supports the charity. But they had a very thin time during the pandemic and Colin hopes the darts tour will put some funds back that they lost those last couple of years.
Colin and Gemma will drive 1,000 miles during the 10-day tour which goes south to Hertfordshire and the London area, west to Surrey and along the South Coast, to Bristol, Stroud and Worcester, through more twists and turns in the North West, Liverpool and Wigan, through Yorkshire, Nottingham, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk before finishing up at the Bury St Edmunds Corn Exchange.
“I owe everything to my locals, to Wetherspoons who have let me play in pubs wherever they have darts boards and to Gemma, who signed, sealed and delivered the arrangements with the pub chain”, said Colin.
Pictured below is Colin's first port of call – The Greyhound pub at Ixworth. If you would like to donate to Colin's charity account, please click on the following button:
Good luck, Colin, and thanks. We’ll catch up with you on launch day!
For people with ME/CFS who are thinking about taking on a physical fundraising challenge, or if you are organising an event that might involve people with ME/CFS, please read this notice from Neil Riley, Chairman of the ME Association.