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USA News

Darts champion credits time in church band for rise to top

by Marcus Jones

Andrew Gilding, who recently became the unexpected UK Open darts champion, has spoken about the impact his time in a church band had on his life and subsequent success.

During his 30s, he battled with mental health issues which stemmed from isolation.

He says joining the church band helped him come out of his shell and find the confidence to join a pub darts team.

Now 52, he picked up a cheque over the weekend for £110,000 after beating world number three Martin van Gerwen.

Speaking to the BBC about his past, he said: "I had some mental health problems and I started to spend all my time indoors. I started getting out when I played guitar for a church band.

"Joining got me started mixing with people and then people said I should join a team. I decided to join the local pub team and I suppose that's where it started.

"I don't really want to be a superstar. Just being able to earn a living doing something you don't hate is great. That's the dream. I am living the dream."

Gilding's victory will now provide new opportunities to compete at the highest level.

He says he's now planning to move out of his "tiny one bedroom council flat" and is dreaming of having enough income to buy a full size snooker table.

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