Freddie Williams, probably the best referee and MC darts has ever known passed away in 2015 aged 81.
Freddie was a world-renowned MC and Referee who spent over 35 years working for no less than three darts organisations, initially the National Darts Association of Great Britain (NDAGB), then the British Darts Organisation (BDO) and finally for the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), the latter from its very start in 1993 (when it was then called the World Darts Council (WDC)) right up to the time he retired from the sport in 2006.
Throughout a good deal of this time Freddie was involved with Essex County darts. At the first home game after his death (Essex v County Durham) a one minute silence was observed in tribute to Freddie. He would have appreciated that.
One of Freddie’s many claims to fame was that he called the first-ever televised nine-dart finish by John Lowe in the MFI World Matchplay Championship at Slough, Buckinghamshire on 13th October 1984. John Lowe later recalled that when the ninth dart went in “I heard caller Freddie Williams announce, as if from the next room, ‘Game!’, then ‘Ladies and gentlemen, history has been made here in Slough today.”
It certainly had.
After so many years devoted service to darts Freddie was, upon his retirement, inducted into the Professional Darts Corporation’s Hall of Fame. Indeed when I visited Freddie and his wife Pat (who had worked for many years as a BDO and PDC statistician) the Hall of Fame award sat proudly on a sideboard for allall visitors to see.
On hearing of Freddie’s death Barry Hearn, the PDC Chairman said
“Freddie made an invaluable contribution to both the sport of darts and the PDC and was a popular and respected figure in the sport. He remained a keen follower of the sport after his retirement and has been a welcome visitor to PDC events ever since with his wife Pat.”
Indeed, Freddie and his wife Pat were good friends of my wife Maureen and me, meeting up with them occasionally during any year for meals out at our local to discuss all things darts and to catch up. (The photo on Page 1 shows Freddie and Pat in 2004 on one of the occasions they visited us. Image (c) Chippix. Used with permission.)
As mentioned, the photograph at the top of this article is from my PC/DW Archive and shows Freddie in action at an early Embassy World Championships.
I think this is the way he would have wished to be remembered and how his many friends and darts fans remember him too.
© 2017 & 2019 Patrick Chaplin
(This tribute was originally published in Dr. Darts’ Newsletter #93, December 2017.)