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Darts ace Andy to warn youngsters about booze

PUBLISHED: 18:07 30 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:04 25 August 2010

HEALTH experts have warned that darts champ Andy 'The Viking' Fordham faces a difficult time ahead despite hopes of a liver transplant.

HEALTH experts have warned that darts champ Andy 'The Viking' Fordham faces a "difficult time ahead" despite hopes of a liver transplant.

Since Fordham, who runs the Cutty Sark pub in Thamesmead with his wife Jenny, 45, revealed he needs a transplant, his agent has said he hopes to stop youngsters following his heavy-drinking path.

This month, the Times revealed the 46-year-old is building links with charities with the aim of giving talks to schoolchildren about the danger of excess drinking.

Fordham, who once weighed 30 stone and downed up to 20 beers a night, won the BDO World Championships in 2004 but has suffered terrible health problems in recent years.

Alison Rogers, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: "We don't often think about our liver because even if it is seriously damaged it doesn't tell us.

"We are delighted someone as well known as darts champion Andy Fordham has chosen to go public about needing a liver transplant - it really highlights the fact that eating and drinking to excess can have a major impact on your life and that sometimes the damage is irreversible.

"Andy has been through some traumatic experiences and has made a big effort to change his lifestyle. The exhaustion that liver disease brings doesn't make this easy and he has a difficult time ahead."

She added: "We wish him well and hope we can be of some assistance to him, both on a personal basis and in helping him raise awareness of the risks so many people are taking with their health."

Experts have warned about a shift in the age of people who need transplants, with the condition increasingly affecting the young due to the UK's binge-drinking culture.

Mrs Rogers added: "Andy is relatively young to need a transplant and this is a growing trend.

"While we have a culture which encourages youngsters to buy cheap alcohol from a variety of outlets we are going to see more people in their early 20s and 30s with liver problems."

A recent government survey revealed that children aged 11 to 15 are drinking the equivalent of six pints of beer or one-and-a-half bottles of wine a week.

For more details, call the trust hotline on 0800 652 7330 or visit www.britishlivertrust.org.uk

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