OXFORDSHIRE’S darts scene is mourning the loss of Jim Baxendale, aged 81.

An excellent player, he spent half his life as a dedicated secretary of the Oxford and District Darts Association.

With wife of 59 years Joan, who died last year, they helped run the league, arranged the finals nights and provided weekly reports for the Oxford Mail.

Warm tributes from players across the county have been paid via a memorial page on Facebook.

The youngest of eight siblings, Baxendale was born in Liverpool but settled in Kidlington.

After a long spell working in Cowley’s car-making industry, he went on to become a postman in Woodstock.

When he finished his round in 2004 after 15 years, residents clubbed together to raise money as a retirement gift.

Baxendale, who had three children with Joan – Ken, Susan and David – went on to join the production staff at the Oxford Mail.

Andrew Smith, a long-time friend who was his supervisor at the newspaper, said: “Jim was the joker in the pack and when we were under pressure he always knew how to keep everyone’s spirits lifted.

“On a personal level he taught me how to play darts and also golf.

“His love of Liverpool FC was huge and he always used to tell everyone not to tell him the score if he was working, as he was usually recording it to watch when he finished working.

“Jim was one of a kind and speaking to many people at Oxford’s press, he will be greatly missed. The press hall will be a much emptier place from now on.”

The funeral, which is subject to Covid restrictions on the number of people who can attend, will be held at Oxford Crematorium on Wednesday, October 14 (2pm).