Richard Ashdown has stepped down from his role as Master of Ceremonies and Head Referees for the British Darts Organisation with immediate effect.
Ashdown, 40, joined the BDO team in 2013 having previously worked as a ‘spotter’ for the BBC during their Lakeside coverage from 2002 onwards.
Affectionately known amongst fans as ‘Little Richard’, Ashdown was MC for six BDO World Championships having first attended as a fan back in 1994.
However, Ashdown revealed via social media on Saturday that he has resigned from his role with the BDO, but will continue to work with affiliated organisations such as England Darts and the WDF.
His statement read:
‘After much deliberation, it is with heavy heart that I formally announce my resignation as Master of Ceremonies and Head Referee of the British Darts Organisation.
‘I would like to thank the board members of the BDO both past and present for opportunities given to me to work upon their tournament stages since 2013, most notably of course, the Lakeside.
‘I don’t think I need to explain just how much it has meant to me to host six Lakeside World Championships. An event that has truly become a part of me over the past 26 years, since I first attended in 1994 and worked at as a spotter since 2002.
‘I have been blessed to work alongside some of the finest referees to grace our sport in this time and I would like to thank Nick Rolls, Marco Meijer, Antony Dundas, Huw Ware & Charlie Corstorphine for their impeccable work and unfailing support to me.
‘I would like to extend personal thanks to those that have made our jobs on stage so much easier, most notably Rab Butler, Cliff Murray and Colin McClements.
‘I hope the passion I have for the BDO and our sport came across to both players and fans alike. I can be honest in saying that I have given this role my all, both on and off the stage and it’s something that I am very proud of.
‘However, as the BDO moves into a transitional period, I feel those efforts are now exhausted and it’s time for me to move on. These choices are my own and not governed by other contracts or organisations.
‘I would like to clarify that my work with other affiliated organisations, such as England Darts and the World Darts Federation will continue.
‘I sincerely wish Des Jacklin and his team all the very best of success with forthcoming events and the future of the BDO.
‘My final good wishes of course go to the BDO players. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you.’
Ashdown has been a company ambassador for darts manufacturing company Winmau since 2013, whose boards had been used in all televised BDO competition for the last four decades.
The BDO, however, recently announced a five-year partnership with One80 and L-style, making One80 the new ‘Official Dartboard supplier of the BDO’.
It is unclear as to whether Ashdown’s decision has been influenced by the ending of Winmau’s association with the BDO.
The BDO responded with the following statement:
‘Following Richard Ashdown’s recent announcement that he will be stepping away from his BDO commitments, we would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best with his future endeavours.
‘Richard, affectionately known amongst players and supporters as ‘Little Richard’, joined the BDO team in 2013 to replace the former Master of Ceremonies Martin Fitzmaurice. Prior to this, Richard was the spotter for the BBC from 2002-2013, where he moved from behind the camera, to become the welcoming face synonymous with both the BDO, and especially ‘The Lakeside’.
‘Richard’s first tournament as the BDO Master of Ceremonies was the 2013 Winmau World Masters, and he subsequently went on to MC the next six BDO Lakeside World Championships, The BDO World Darts Trophy, the Winmau World Masters and the BDO British Open and British Masters to name but a few!
‘Richard was also a force behind the scenes, organising his team of callers, providing the BDO with player information and statistics, scheduling, undertaking interviews and tournament previews and assisting the BDO with promoting their events and players.
‘Richard will be sorely missed by the BDO, their supporters and players alike!
‘In the words of Little Richard…’Heigh Ho’!’