A DARTS player killed in a motorbike crash was a “great bloke” who will be greatly missed, a friend has said.

Adrian Gardner, 43, known as Ade, was riding his Suzuki 1200 motorbike in Burnley Road, Altham, when he crashed into a lamp-post in wet weather at about 12.30pm.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

It is believed that Mr Gardner was originally from Anglesey, but had lived in the Altham area for more than a decade where he was an influential part of the local darts scene, representing the Super League team and Hyndburn.

Phil Miller, licensee of Stanley Street Working Men’s Club where Mr Gardner played, said that his telephone had not stopped ringing since the accident with people wanting to pay their respects.

He said: “He was always the first one in to play.

“He was a fantastic darter. Everybody wanted him to play for their team. Nobody will ever replace Adrian.

“This has shocked the darts community. It has come like a bolt out of the blue.

“It’s been a terrible time lately because we lost a popular player called Les Gibson earlier in the year through a stroke.

“It was standing room only at Les’s funeral and I imagine it will be the same for Ade.”

Mr Miller said Ade was ‘quiet and kept himself to himself’.

He said: “Ade was a big man in stature, but he wouldn’t say boo to a goose.

“He was never any problem. I never saw him drunk. He was exemplary.

“He was a great bloke and nobody had a bad word to say about him.”

Mr Miller told of Ade’s karaoke talents.

He said: “He used to come in and sing Thunder by ACDC on the karaoke on Sundays.

“He was a quiet, unassuming bloke, but when he got up to sing, he cranked the volume up and everybody noticed.

“On Sunday night we played ACDC again for him and I put a picture of him up in a glass cabinet for everyone to see.

“He will be greatly missed.”

Police are appealing for witnesses to the accident which happened at about 12.30pm on Saturday on Burnley Road.

Anyone with information is asked to call 0845 1 25 35 45.

If you would like to pay tribute to Adrian, please add your comments below.