TWO members of a District Darts League are retiring after being on the committee for nearly 50 years.

Kenneth Makepeace, 72, and Michael Ridley, 75, are retiring as secretary and chairman respectively of Haltwhistle and District Darts League.

Kenneth and Michael started their journey with the league 49 years ago in 1973. 

Kenneth, a retired television engineer, said there were 36 darts teams when they started coming from Nenthead, Alston, Gilsland and Newbrough, while every pub had their own team or two.

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He said 13 teams are left in the league and the decline has been a result of younger generations not being as interested in being involved in a league.

A new committee has been formed, and Kenneth said they have left it in a good financial position for them to take over.

"I've enjoyed it over the years, we've put a lot of hard work into it and it's been a privilege to do it," he said.

He will continue to play darts for the local team and grows leeks in his spare time.

Kenneth said part of the reason he was retiring is that the environment of darts was changing.

"Everything's changing, there's not as many young players coming through to form new teams," he said.

"I'd rather retire when everything's going well and the club is doing well but the new committee has taken over and I hope they do well."

He said playing darts in the pub was always a good social event.

"People aren't coming out to pubs anymore, when we finished the games the pub brought our suppers out, it was a good social night out," he said.

He runs the Bowes Hotel dart team, the Bowes Dodgers.

Various darts teams got involved with the league during Michael and Kenneth's time on the Committee.

Some of the pubs, clubs and hotels that have played in the last 49 years in Haltwhistle and District Darts Leagues in Haltwhistle includes the Spotted Cow, Grey Bull, the Comrades Club, the Conservative Club, Manor House, the Black Bull and the Railway Hotel.

Kenneth added that a well-respected Haltwhistle Darts League member Joe Keen died during Covid around three years ago. 

Andrew Marchbank is also retiring as treasurer.