A mother-of-three young Blackburn darts player has praised their club manager for his generosity, after the girls had their signed shirts stolen in the ladies’ final at Winter Gardens in Blackpool last month.
Darts enthusiasts Edie, 13, Violette, 8 and Hylda, 5, took part in a darts challenge organized by the PDC where their impressive darts skills, honed by the Blackburn Darts Academy, earned them a peak each darts.
Unfortunately, their tops were stolen from their seats by someone while they were on stage getting players’ autographs on Sunday July 24.
Keith Brunt runs the Academy and without his help, their mother Shellie Phillips said the incident would not have been positive.
She added: “They were really upset, especially my youngest, but Keith really stepped up for us and reached out to his darts colleagues.
“The PDC contacted me and said they had heard about our story and were going to replace the shirts with new signed shirts, a signed dart board and some booklets as well.”
Thanks for @OfficialPDC @Blackburnyouthd @GDL180 (our upcoming players who haven’t joined yet!) for the overwhelming generosity and also for @DamonHeta180 for signed darts shirts you all were amazing and we will be forever grateful @howi_d pic.twitter.com/2roIv5Stbd
— shellie phillips (@shettiemctush) July 29, 2022
Along with the PDC gifts, Australian professional darts player Damon Heta sent the girls a signed card and one of his own darts shirts.
Shellie added: “It just shows that the darts community is also very supportive because everyone was disgusted.”
Sharing the extent of Keith’s kindness, Shellie said: ‘He’s such a genuine, kind guy. He helped Hylda’s confidence as she is obviously very young and quite shy.
“He charges a nominal fee to sign up, so he’s not doing this for money, he’s doing it because he really loves darts.
“With community centers closed and disarray in Blackburn’s parks, Keith is doing this to get children off the streets because they have nothing to do.”
“Keith very rarely takes a day off,” Shellie said. “He never has his phone turned off and if there’s a kid who can’t make it to one of the sessions, he rallies around asking ‘can someone drive this boy so he can get to the session. He’s just a generous, generous guy.
Speaking about the incident at the Winter Gardens, Keith said: ‘It was a shock because you wouldn’t think, even in our day and age, that someone would steal three children.
“All three of them went to women’s match play to defend our Academy and champion our passion to increase the number of female students we have and try to get more girls into the sport.
“We currently have seven daughters but we want to double that number by the end of the year if we can.”
All the money Keith earns goes directly to the academy to support the kids and provide them with unforgettable opportunities like meeting the best players and learning from professional mentors.
Last month, Keith hosted a night out with Daryl Gurney where the members were able to play one-on-one against the player and all funds raised were used to buy new shirts at the club.
Carine Jessamine, Marketing Director of Selco Builders Warehouse, who supplied the award shirts, said: “We were really disappointed to hear that these three young darts fans had their Selco shirts stolen during the Women’s World Matchplay.
“We were delighted to replace them and delighted that the darts community has also come up with some additional special goodies.
“The Selco Darts game in Blackpool proved to be very popular with the fans and dozens of people managed to hit the target and land one of our sought after shirts.
“We look forward to taking on the challenge at other darts events in the months to come.”