DARTS STAR, Daryl Gurney was delighted to return to his old stomping ground at Lisneal College on Friday as he generously answered a call for help from the Waterside school.
The World No.4, who is preparing for the PDC World Darts Championships, took time out of his busy schedule to visit pupils and offer much needed sponsorship for the school’s football and hockey teams.
It was a much welcome gesture from the Tullyally man who sponsored four new sports kits but he was happy to give something back to his old school.
“I still run about here whenever I have days off,” explained Gurney. “I’m always running about working with cars and passing the school so it just made sense when I heard they needed a bit of funding to help them out.
“It’s just a simple thing which can help the children out and if we can help them out in any kind of way then it’s great. Something as simple as sponsoring kits can go a long way. I hope they enjoy their kits and especially in this weather I hope it can keep them warm,” he smiled.
Gurney, who kicks off his World Darts Championships at the ‘Ally Pally’ next Monday night against Ronny Huybrechts, was greeted in the assembly hall by the school choir who sang a rendition of ‘Superchin’s’ walk on music, ‘Sweet Caroline’.
And Gurney says he was bowled over by the welcome and is hoping his success will see more local children step up to the oche.
“It’s a shock to me when I see the children’s reaction,” smiled Gurney. “I still feel like I’m the same player I was 10 years ago. The children roaring and screaming is more of a shock to me than anybody else.
“I’m still the person I was 10 years ago. I’m still grounded, my feet are on the ground and I see myself as a darts player and that’s it. The enthusiasm from the children has been unbelievable.”
And Lisneal College principle, Michael Allen insists Gurney is the perfect role model for aspiring darts players as he spent three hours signing autographs and playing darts with the children.
“It’s great that we have a role model we can point to that we maybe didn’t have before Daryl.
“We put an appeal as schools are finding it extremely difficult at the moment with finances so we put out an appeal on Facebook and Twitter that we needed four new kits for our pupils for football and hockey and Hayley, Daryl’s sister picked up on it and spoke to Daryl and within a few days we had an offer for sponsorship for all four kits.
“We’re delighted, he’s a great guy, a really good fella. He spent hours today with our kids and has just blown us away.
“He did the presentation then he walked down through the school meeting the kids and signing autographs. He then went into our wee darts room and he stood for two hours playing darts with the kids. It went down really well.”