Yellow Flowers – A Journey Of Grief, Jacks Mum Forever & Always

yellow flowers

‘Tick Tock’, Tick Tock’-no not the popularised algorithm, ‘Tik Tok’ of the Lock-down of 2020! No this is my brain, my heart and body counting the hours, days, minutes and seconds to that daythe day my life changed, my world changed and the world around me changed. I thought the first year of losing Jack was hard enough, getting through all those ‘firsts’, like it was a tick list a To Do. Mother’s Day, Birthdays, mine and Jack’s, Easter, summer, Halloween, fireworks, New Year and of course the Anniversary. Not that I refer to it as an Anniversary-‘Crap-versary’ more like. The dictionary definition states “a day we remember or celebrate something important that happened on that day in a previous year”. Whilst I can see this as an excepted definition, it is not for me a celebration-nor will it ever be. Maybe one day I will find a term that will fit comfortably with me.

I write and reflect on my own experiences and feelings as we all grieve our loved ones in different ways and what I have learnt is that there is no wrong or right way in which we do this.

It is not to say that the first year wasn’t the most difficult, of course it was-I lost my only child, my feelings were so intense, I didn’t even know what day it was, time had stood still-although each day brought night, and each night brought day. There is no script for this, how can there be when the death was unexpected and out of order of how it should be.

The second year I had begun to process and realised this was my life and I had to relive and go through all those ‘firsts’ again and again, only this time it was real and I knew what was coming…….

It was not my life; how could it be? An ethereal world that lives on only in my memory.

Intellectually I know Jack is never coming back, however the pain of that truth is so unbearable, my thoughts and mind told me Jack was just somewhere else at a friend’s, living abroad, anything but the truth. I pushed it away to be free of the pain and that’s how I survived-I lived on the peripheral of society, I did my job, I came home, I cleaned, I busied myself, took myself off to places, countries, anything to escape the truth. To the outside world, I was coping, I wasn’t lying in bed, not getting dressed or showering, I was getting up every day facing the world, strong and courageous (as people said I was).

Until the day-grief caught up with me, the triggers, smells, places, songs, photographs, images that I couldn’t bear to see. Avoidance became my friend and we did well together, until they let me down and we no longer became friends and the ‘truth’ bit me on the proverbial arse.

Pushing the hurt, the trauma only brought about more pain and suffering, a myriad of entangled emotions too painful to describe-I didn’t want this life and I was exhausted by it, so much so I contemplated ending my life so I could be with Jack, that’s all I wanted…..

So before the panic sets in and you think Im in danger, please listen on as this is not uncommon when you have lost a child. The group I belong to (not a group you see yourself in I assure you), The Compassionate Friends. I can share my deepest feelings of grief, my sorrow, anger of why Jack and why me? Without feeling judged, they too have felt like me, to end the pain to be with their son or daughter.

Year two and three have been a combination of therapy, diagnosis of anxiety, PTSD and depression, again not uncommon after a trauma such as this. A Disconnection, being cut off from something we innately need, but seem to have lost it along the way. I was fortunate in that my employees were extremely supportive and arranged private therapy and time off to take care of my broken heart.

The day is the 6th January 2021, and as mentioned I can feel and have felt this sense of feeling fragile and lost. Four years ago today was my last phone call with Jack, before I received the devastating news the following day. The triggers are all there, I can feel them, however with treatment I can regulate and go with the pain now and respond to what I need and my body.

I recognise this has been a challenging year as it has been for all of you during the Pandemic and will continue to be so for many months ahead. I Liken the Lock-down to my own grief and the words expressed by some ‘the new normal’, is what those who have lost a child already feel, this is our ‘new normal’ and will continue to be throughout our lives.

I hope by sharing my personal reflections- may help you to somehow cope with this ‘New Normal’. You will get through it as I am having to and you will cherish the times of being with family and the hope that you will see them again soon, alas. I will not. I think of all those who have lost loved ones through this virus and not being able to say goodbye-I share that pain.

“That which we cannot understand can never be described” This came from a book I was reading, referring to love. I feel you can interpret the same for Loss. People who are grieving are often without words to describe how they feel when asked. I respond that I don’t understand how I feel, therefore cannot describe it to you.

As we are unable to hug or hold one another, we can still help each other by sending a message to say you are thinking of them a card, flowers, a remote hug anything to reach out to people in pain can help as I bear witness to, Grief is so often a lonely journey.

Remembering Jack and all those who are no longer with us and reach out in the best way you can.

Love Always Maz and Jack xxx

Yellow Flowers are what Jack would always buy me xx

Compassionate friends Link:

JDF Makes New Friends With Hungarian Darts Team!

prince of darts featured

A few weeks ago the Jack Dowding Foundation received an interesting message all the way from Hungary. The site was contacted by a Tamás Tarján who is the club secretary for the Prince of Darts team based in Budapest, Hungary.

There was a request for some of the pin badges as seen when the pros wore them on the Premier League Darts night.

We were, of course, delighted to receive the request and duly obliged in getting them over to their team.

This is a wonderful thing, for the site to be contacted by darts players from another country just shows how great the darting community is. What a wonderful gesture.

We have seen with the local competitions that are run here and the events Loz and everyone else people associated with JDF put on just how generous people are.

Loz got in contact with them over the purchase of some of the pin badges and was obviously happy to ship some over.

Tamás was delighted with them and sent us some pictures of him with his teammates wearing the badges with pride.

Their club has some tremendous facilities and great board setups.

Here is a little bit of history about the club.

The club is called The Prince of Darts. It comes from the founder’s (Csaba Németh) dart nickname. He was playing in the ’80-s and ’90-s in a local league and national competitions. His dream was to make a place for dart lovers, with a professional atmosphere, but a comfortable place to play darts. So in 2017, the Prince of Darts Club was built.

Amazing setup and social scene at their club.

It has 16 dartboards, every board is pictured and named after a famous darts player. ( Taylor, Barneveld, Anderson …etc.) You can find many signatures from famous players on the walls, such as Phil Taylor, Wayne Mardle, Raymond van Barneveld …etc. They have hosted many exhibition nights including one recently in 2019 with Bobby George.

In 2018, the European Darts Cup was held in Budapest. During this event, the Scottish, Irish, Ciprian and Swiss national teams used the club as a practice venue.

Team shirts as shown with Jack’s badge on.

In Hungary, darts is not such a widespread sport. There are approx 1500 registered players and only one is a full time professional. The club’s goal is to give a place for the hobby-players to advance their skills so they organize many competitions too. The Prince of Darts Club has about sixty members nowadays.

Tamás said:

“Last year we recognized that there are many charities around the world, and we noticed your team is also connected to darts, serving something special. That is how we found the Jack Dowding Foundation.”

“Our players are also playing in the local league (40-110 participant/time), national league (200-300 participant/time), and are very proud to wear the pins you sent us.”

“The club management wants to make more opportunities to the players year by year to advance their skills, so we are very openminded in the direction of other clubs, and we are searching for contacts like your team.”

“Every December (between Christmas and new year) we organize a year closing ceremony, hopefully, we can throw up with a team cup between your team and our team!”

“Finally many thanks for your friendly attitude and let us express our strong hope of being now at the beginning of a fruitful cooperation!”

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Tamás ( the secretary of the club) and his teammates, Gábor Takács (player, the reigning Hungarian champion), Nóra Erdei (player, former Hungarian champion, national team member), Sándor Kütreiber (the boss), Dávid Katona (player, team champion), Gábor Jagicza (player, team champion)

They have players on their team who have featured in the PDC world cup of darts representing Hungary.

Nándor Bezzeg, an 8-time national champion (man steel, individual) and so far the only player from Hungary to participate at the PDC World Championship. He has represented Hungary on the PDC World Cup of Darts.

Gábor Takács, 2-time – currently reigning – national champion (man steel, individual), also many times a member of Hungary on PDC World Cup of Darts.

Nóra Erdei, former individual woman steel champion, national team member for years, both steel and soft-tip darts, EDU Euro- and World Champion in doubles.

Besides them, they are also proud of many other talented players, including Dávid Katona, Gábor Jagicza, Viktor Szekrényes, Attila Réthelyi, who have already performed well on the local circuit and are believed to have bright futures in the world of darts, even maybe internationally.

Prince of Darts team.
Dávid Katona wearing his pin with pride!
Sándor Kütreiber – The Boss

We will definitely stay in contact so who knows maybe there could be an overseas Jack Dowding Trophy soon!!?? Or an invite over to here and an international feel to the next trophy night!

A big thanks for Tamás and his teammates and everyone associated with the Prince of Darts club for supporting the charity, we would like to wish them all the best for their season both individually and as a team.

The 6th JDF Darts Comp & We Hit A New Milestone!

6th JDF Trophy Darts Comp

November the 28th 2019 at Bitterne Park Social Club saw the 6th installment of the Jack Dowding Darts Trophy; a popular and now familiar competition on the local darting calendar across the Solent.

Whilst entries were, in fact, a little down on the last event, the spirit, competition, and standard were very much as high!

The agenda for the evening went with the usual raffle, a superb auction again and the more recent edition of Loz’s 9 Dart Challenge!

It should be noted that this little event attracted quite a bit of interest. For £1 you got to throw 3 sets of darts ranging from 8g to 45g and had to score the highest you can with all 9.

This was a fantastic game and great fun as it certainly leveled up all the players – trying to throw accurately a set of 8g darts then switching to 45g on your next throw is pretty tricky!

This little side comp raised over £160 alone!

Some scoring that with those darts!

Once all the players were entered for the main competition Angela started the raffle. A rather nice raffle it was too – plenty of good booze on offer (always welcome with dart players it seems?!) so many of the players and spectators went home happy.

Thanks to everyone who donated a prize or two – and of course thanks to everyone who had a go!

everyone loves a raffle
Everyone loves a raffle

Once the raffle had started and a few of the prizes were claimed it was time to start the main competition.

The players at Bitterne Park always play with high respect for each other and this competition was no different.

Whilst this event has more important issues than winning and darts, it is always played that way. Which is great!

Jack was a massive darts fan as we all know so for his competition to be played with such a competitive spirit is brilliant. Just the way a darts competition should be played.

Game on!

The early rounds saw some cracking games with all players doing their part.

The standard was very high with players of all levels taking legs and games off each other. The one great thing about the Bitterne Park SDS darts scene is the diversity of players.

There are men, women, and youths from all levels. Bedroom players, pub players, super league players, county players, challenge tour players and full pro PDC players.

The best part is, if it’s your day, everyone is beatable.

The famous auction

Halfway through the main competition, there was the famous auction break – quite a money raiser on its own in past events.

This one was no different, some great darts memorabilia was on offer here including arguably the pick of the night a full 2020 season pass for the SDS events upcoming.

If you were to pay for this all season it would set you back around £300 so thank you to Stefan for putting this up.

Dan Davis was the worthy winner of this auction and somebody who will certainly get the full value of this prize. A dedicated player who shows up each and every week!

Another shoutout here to Karen Cousins who Loz gave his Special Achievement award to. A lady who gives up her time to help with the running of these events each week. Very much appreciated by all.

As more and more players left the competition in the second half of the evening the final was edging closer.

The semi-finals saw Luke Getty pitch up against Richard North and in the other semi Steve Perren went up against Scott Walters.

Both great semi-finals but Richard North and Scott Walters were victorious so the stage was set for a final!

Now, as we all know from any SDS event no final is complete without the sultry voice from the north of the border, Frank Innes.

So the camera was ready.

The mic was ready.

The tripod was ready.

We were LIVE on Facebook.

Frank was ready.

Frank “Cigarettes and Alcohol” Innes

As always with every event, the final did not disappoint. The players would not be separated in the first four legs but it was Richard North who came out on top as the eventual winner, surpassing Scott Walters in a cracking game of darts 4-2.

Both players didn’t disappoint. Like I say the standard at these events is always top draw.

A rerun of the final can be seen here.

Be sure to follow the SDS Darts page here for updates on local darts events.

Congratulations to the winners and to all players, organisers, pint pullers, 1st round losers, and spectators! You all played your part in a fantastic evening.

2019 Winter Winner Richard North

A massive shoutout again to everyone who came along, even though it was close to Xmas and just short of payday the money raised on the night was a cracking £1300!

This has taken the total raised by just darts events at Bitterne Park to over £10,000

This is a huge milestone and hopefully we can continue and push on to the next ten thousand. Every penny raised goes towards the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.

It should also be pointed out that the total raised altogether by every event now is just shy of £20,000.

Incredible. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

The Pros Run The Show At The 5th Jack Dowding Darts Trophy

5th Jack Dowding Darts Comp

June 13th saw the 5th instalment on what is becoming a regular and thrilling event on the local darts calendar.

Thursday nights at Bitterne Park Social club is dart night.

That much is standard.

But this was a Jack Dowding Trophy night.

As usual, it was a cracking turnout from the regulars and some not so regular faces. The great thing about this tournament is it brings in not only Jack’s dart friends but also people from all around the county putting their fiver in the pot and having a chuck.

Some of the early arrivals supping a few light ales and having a practice.

Due to previous years raffle taking a little longer Angela done a sterling job on selling the tickets quick for this and dispatching the prizes before “Game On”

The 9 Dart Challenge!

Throughout the evening as per usual with this event there are often little side money raisers going on. This time saw the first and very popular 9 Dart Challenge, with a twist…..

The goal was to score as high as you can with all 9 darts, the winner receiving a unique trophy!

The twist though was they were 3 different sets of darts, and not really the usual weight that most players would be used to.

You had to throw a set of 5g darts, 15g and 45g!

Trust me, if you have never thrown a 5g dart before and think you are a handy player then give this a go. My efforts ended up nearer the 6 than the 20 – very hard!

The 15g gram set were not too bad but the 45g set was like throwing bricks at the board!

Amazingly, Mason Whitlock managed to score an amazing 289 with his go – smashing the rest of the entries out of the park.

A worthy first time winner, lets see if he can repeat that next time 🙂

The Main Event

Onto the proper darts then, this tournament always gets good crowds due to just how well loved Jack and his family are. The darting family is a great one and this lot certainly know how to put on a show.

There were several pros who turned up to play including Simon Whitlock, Andy Jenkins, Andy Hamilton and Richard North.

I know I do not only speak for myself as a darts fan when I say its a real privilege to get up close to watch these guys play. For me, the standard across the room was excellent.

Without dismissing some great darts in the early rounds it actually ended up with the four I mentioned all making the semi-finals.

Simon “The Wizard” Whitlock edged out “The Hammer” Andy Hamilton 4-3 and the other match had the same scoreline with Andy Jenkins seeing off Richard North.

So, onto the final.

A final at Thursday darts at Bitterne can only mean ONE thing.

Frank Innes Productions….

How time has moved on, a tripod and everything. 🙂

Frank Innes Productions

So once all that was set up the action started, a great final saw Simon take a 2-0 lead only to be pegged back with a cracking 96 with Simon sat on a double. Andy then went on to win with a stunning 104 outshot to claim a 4-3 victory.

Both gents were great enough to donate their prize money into the charity.

Great stuff and a worthy winner on the night.

Another Epic Clash!

The darts final wasn’t the only epic battle that took place on the night. Prior to this we had a stand off of a different kind.

This time in the auction arena!

Dan Davis went toe to toe with Trevor Carr in a bid to own an exlusive set of Michael Van Gerwen darts. A superb set and something any darts fan would want.

In what started as a slow auction, they soon kicked into life as both chaps did not want to let these slip.

A cracking amount was raised from the auction lots over the evening and some great prizes were up for grabs but this one topped the lot.

Relive the action here!

An amazing night was had by all with darts, Jack’s charity, banter, a few laughs, the staff at the club and great people being the real winners.

A total over £1300 was raised and will be sent to the JDRF.

Thanks again for your amazing support.

Until the next time.

Much love.

An Emotional Victory At The 4th Jack Dowding Trophy

Jack Dowding Trophy 4

November 29th 2018 saw the 4th Jack Dowding Trophy hosted at Bitterne Park Social club.

As always the turn out was great with regular players from the SDS league and other dart leagues and friends of Jack coming from all over the county.

Everyone seemed in good spirits for what is becoming a regular and well-attended event on the local darts competition calendar.

As always with any SDS event, the competition was run flawlessly by the master of ceremonies and events organiser Stefen Evrard.

Jack Dowding Trophy 4

Angela ran a cracking raffle again, which was a great success with plenty to choose from including electrical goods, chocolates (which I think Ryan Cousins won all of) DVDs, games and plenty of booze! (which obviously went down well with the throwers)

There was also a GIANT teddy bear up for the raffle and two PDC signed sets of darts courtesy of Richard North and world champion Rob Cross.

The darts were won by Bishops Waltham player Dean Cole, both sets no less in a raffle draw! Dean kindly put one of the sets back in for a redraw.

A signed Micheal Van Gerwen shirt was also auctioned off which went for £102 to one lucky young fan!

signed van gerwen shirt

Now to the darts.

As usual with these events the standard was very high, lots of 180s, lots of big outshots and fine finishing throughout.

You could say a few shocks along the way too with Richard North, Steve Perren among others going out at early stages.

The winner of the competition was Justin Bradshaw who beat Scott Walters in a thrilling final. A rather fitting winner of this trophy as he was a very close friend of Jacks. I know this would have meant a lot to him.  Great stuff. A well-deserved winner and definitely the most consistent all through the night.

justin bradshaw

Social media went crazy to congratulate Justin knowing what it meant to him to win this event for his good friend.

fitting tributes to Justin Bradshaw

The final grid can be seen below:

final grid from jack dowding trophy 4

The total money raised on the night was £1040 which is an incredible achievement by all involved. All proceeds as always going to the JDRF.

Onto the next one!