FUNDRAISERS gathered on the oche to pay a heartfelt homage to a life-saving department at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Darts players aimed to hit the jackpot yesterday – for the cardiology unit at the Harton Lane hospital in South Shields.
They met at South Shields Snooker Club in Chichester Road, from 11am, for a 12-hour darts marathon. And the aim was to raise £1,000 for the department by the time the last arrow was thrown.
On hand to throw the first dart of the day was special guest Coun Ernest Gibson, Mayor of South Tyneside, who revealed the event was of particular interest to him.
He explained: “My mother Patricia has had reason to use the department. She suffers from angina and collapsed in the street three years ago.
“She had to be resuscitated and went on to have a pacemaker fitted. I’m delighted to support such a worthy cause.”
The event was organised by Jim Taroni, a member of the club’s B darts team.
Mr Taroni, 70, of Bamburgh Grove, South Shields, said: “My wife, June, has had heart problems for 20 years and has used the department on and off. The staff there have always been very helpful, so I thought that we’d show them some support this year.”
Another beneficiary of the cardiology unit is Ernie Metcalf, 72, of Cleadon Park, South Shields, a member of the snooker club’s A darts team.
He said: “I had tests at the department in 2000, which detected a problem with my heart, and as a result I went on to have a quadruple heart bypass.
“The people at the department do a fantastic job. They have the hands of God.
“I was more than happy to come along and support this today.”
South Shields Snooker Club is a thriving place these days – and not just as a venue for snooker. John Maughan, manager for more than 20 years, said: “By March, I expect there to be 30 darts teams playing out of the club and the darts area was recently expanded.
“You hear about clubs struggling, but I have to say we are in great shape, both on the snooker and darts sides.”
Yesterday’s fundraising darts marathon was the third staged at the club in as many years.
In 2011, a total of £800 was raised for St Clare’s Hospice in Jarrow and another £1,000 was added to the coffers of the same charity last year.
Mr Maughan added: “We’re hoping to raise another £1,000 for the cardiology department this year, through sponsorship and raffles.”