BEATING the competition to become champions of a darts league is a big deal for anyone.
But the achievement is even more impressive for two grandmothers, aged 91 and 88.
Joan Burrows, 91, and Joan Dawson, 88, are both long-term members of the all-woman Distaff Club, Canvey.
They have both played darts for the club for a combined total of 89 years and have just been crowned winners in the doubles final of the female darts league.
The inspirational women represented the club when they went head-to-head against Carol Parkin and Marion Kingston, of Canvey Rugby Club, at Smallgains Hall, in Creek Road.
By taking top prize, the two friends have shown age is nothing but a number.
Mrs Burrows, of Maurice Road, Canvey, said: “I was quite chuffed, but my family were more chuffed than I was. It was lovely.”
While remaining modest about their achievements, the two Joans are examples of how a healthy lifestyle can take you a long way.
Mrs Burrows, who lost her husband a year after moving on to the island almost 40 years ago, joined the club to make friends and insists she is lucky to still be in such good health.
She said: “It is just me. I just have a go at things. If people ask me do you want a go, I say yes. I never say no.”
She seriously does have a go at everything. She is also a member of a tai chi club.
She said: “I go every Tuesday night at the Catholic Hall, and they are a lovely crowd.
“I have been going for six to seven years. It is just something to keep me going. It is all about the way you move your hands and arms. I do two-hour lessons every day.
“I’m just lucky. I don’t look back.
I had a wonderful life with my husband and one daughter. She does tai chi with me and also plays darts.”
The other Joan, Mrs Dawson, of Rosbach Road, Canvey, is all praise when she speaks of her friend of 40 years, but is also pretty remarkable in her own right. She said: “We have been friends for over 40 years.
She is marvellous – especially if you consider her age.”
Mrs Dawson goes to a salon every Monday without fail to get her hair done. She’s a fan of cycling and heads to a Conservative ladies’ group every week.
She said: “I have never had major health problems. We are lucky. I thought I had hip troubles six years ago, but it was nothing serious. I rode a bike until I was 70.
“It’s all about good exercise, so there is no problem in the end.”
The most inspirational thing about the two women is that they are still determined to carry on regardless of their age.
Mrs Dawson said: “While I am fit and well, I will continue to keep playing darts.”
The Distaff Club meets at the War Memorial Hall, High Street, Canvey, every Monday.