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Tributes paid to ex-world darts champ

PUBLISHED: 12:05 20 June 2008 | UPDATED: 19:38 10 March 2010

DARTS legend Bobby George today paid tribute to Felixstowe's former world No.1 female darts player, Lil Coombes, who has died aged 85.

Lil - who only took up darts seriously at age of 55 - is fondly remembered for her competitive edge and determination to continue with a sport that could take her through to old age.

DARTS legend Bobby George today paid tribute to Felixstowe's former world No.1 female darts player, Lil Coombes, who has died aged 85.

Lil - who only took up darts seriously at age of 55 - is fondly remembered for her competitive edge and determination to continue with a sport that could take her through to old age.

George, who lives in Ardleigh, near Colchester, often used to play in tournaments with her and recalled her steely character.

He said: “Lil was an independent sort of a woman and quite humorous. However, when she played darts she wanted to beat everyone up.

“Lil was in her 60s when she was the number one player in the world. She was a tidy player and hit them 180s and 140s.

“Lil loved her darts.

“I remember once, I went to Canada and the hotel didn't have enough rooms for the Canadian Open players. They only had one room left with a double bed. She was about 70 at the time and I had to share a bed with her.”

George regrets Lil did not play for England, despite her standing in the game.

“Lil really deserved to play for England. I thought that was a bit harsh on her, but at least she showed the world that no matter how old you are you can play darts.”

At the age of 62, Lil claimed the title of being the world's number one ladies player, however, despite globe trotting around the world playing the international circuit, she was never selected to represent her country.

Determined to further prove her ability, Lil went on to be world masters runner-up in 1983.

A much-loved character throughout the darts community, Lil often played alongside many of the top world ranking players, including Eric Bristow, George, Leighton Rees and Keith Deller.

Other darts honours achieved by Lil, who previously had been a strong tennis and netball player, included the Greater Los Angeles Open and the Golden Gate Classic Ladies Open in San Francisco.

Paying tribute to a remarkable lady who died earlier this week, Lil's daughter Janette spoke on behalf of her and her sister Valerie. She said: “Mum has had a great life by following her passion for sport.

“We loved receiving post cards from all over the world and there was never a dull moment with her. She has made some wonderful friends.

“We will be celebrating her life once the funeral arrangements have been finalised and if any of her sporting friends would like to join us they would be most welcome.”

The funeral will take place on Friday at 11am at Walton Church followed by a celebration of Lil's life at the nearby Felixstowe Trade and Labour Club

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