Town’s former ‘world champion’ Severn passes away, aged 87

Jim Severn, right and Jack Smith after their pairs win in 1963.
Jim Severn, right and Jack Smith after their pairs win in 1963.

Jim Severn, a former National Darts Association of Great Britain pairs champion, has passed away in Warwick Hospital aged 87.

Severn teamed up with fellow Leamington player Jack Smith in September 1963 to win the prestigious event - which later went on to become the World Pairs - coming through an original entry of 19,000.

The duo won both the Warwickshire and Midlands qualifying titles to take their place in the final stages at Canning Town Hall in London where they defeated Welsh opponents in the quarter-finals.

They then overcame a Yorkshire duo in the semi-final, including reigning News of the World champion Tom Gibbins, before coming from a leg down to defeat Eastern Counties opponents 2-1 in the final.

“It was a memorable day,” recalled Severn, who in the days before big money came into sport, took home a canteen of cutlery and a clock as part of his prize haul.

Severn played for a number of pubs and clubs around Leamington and was part of the Leamington Social Club team which won the league 15 times in 16 years.

Severn in action

Severn in action

Among his many singles, pairs and team titles he claimed the Nodor Fours of Warwickshire three years in succession and was allowed to keep the North Leamington Darts individual trophy after winning it for the third year in a row in 1973.

Severn, who was originally from Yorkshire, was also a part of the Leamington Courier Select team for four years during which he lost just once (in a charity game).

Colin Lloyd, who captained Severn in that team, paid tribute to his former team-mate, who he said was both admired and respected by his fellow players.

“Everybody knew Jimmy Severn, even the young players coming through,” said Lloyd.

“Everybody loved him.

“He was a pure gentleman. He never said boo to a goose.

“He never lost many games and he was a legend in his own right.”

Severn leaves behind a wife, Joyce, who he met when he was based with the army in Kineton.

The couple, who celebrated their diamond anniversary in 2014, had two children and five grandchildren.

The funeral for Severn, who had been suffering from dementia, will be held at Oakley Wood Crematorium on Friday September 1 (1pm).