Tributes paid to popular Wearside darts champion who won prestigious national title

Alec Adamson with many of the trophies he won during his darts career.
Alec Adamson with many of the trophies he won during his darts career.
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Tributes have been paid to a popular Wearside darts champion who put his town on the map.

Alec Adamson, of Hetton-le-Hole, won the prestigious News of the World Darts Championship at Wembley, London, in 1961.

Alec Adamson was featured in the News of the World Darts Championship programme of 1961.

Alec Adamson was featured in the News of the World Darts Championship programme of 1961.

He passed away peacefully on Saturday at the age of 87, leaving behind daughters Carol and Janice.

Alec was well-known in Hetton, and represented the Prince of Wales pub – of which his father, Jackson Walkington Adamson, was the landlord – in the championship.

He went on to be a licensee himself, at the Wheatsheaf Inn, on Moorsley Road, before owning a newsagents on Easington Lane.

In his heyday, Haswell-born Alec – who was married to Hetty, who died 14 years ago – won darts trophies galore at local and regional level, before his crowning glory in London.

Everyone in Hetton knew and supported him

Carol Menzies

The competition was the most prestigious darts tournament of the day, and was later won by legends of the game including Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Bobby George and Phil Taylor.

Alec’s victory came just before darts boomed, with players becoming celebrities and earning huge prize money, and their exploits were aired on TV.

Daughter Carol Menzies said: “My dad was a really good darts player and started winning everything locally.

“He eventually went further afield and was winning competitions around the North East.

Alec Adamson featured in the News of the World Darts Championship programme of 1961.

Alec Adamson featured in the News of the World Darts Championship programme of 1961.

“It culminated in him going down to London for the News of the World Championships, and as well as winning it in 1961, he also competed in it in 1954 and 1957.

“Years later, he used to see darts players on the TV and say, ‘if time had been different, that would have been me’.

“He may not have been famous nationally, but he went down in history as a winner of the competition and was very famous locally. Everyone in Hetton knew and supported him.

“Half of Hetton used to go and support him in London. They used to get a bus so they could go down together to support him.

Eric Bristow.

Eric Bristow.

“A few years ago, we were walking a journey which would normally take 10 minutes to Hetton from his home.

“It took so long for us to get there, because everybody stopped him in the street. He was so well-known.”

In his later years, Alec continued to play darts for Hetton Lyons Cricket Club.

He passed away peacefully at home.

John Lowe.

John Lowe.

Phil Taylor.

Phil Taylor.