Darts star Luke Littler is pride of Joseph Holt pub

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Community hero: the Millhouse licensee Lisa Leyland says the support for Luke Littler brings the community together
Community hero: the Millhouse licensee Lisa Leyland says the support for Luke Littler brings the community together

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Darts sensation Luke Littler was the centre of attention for fans of the sport across the world last night (3 January) but it was particularly special for his bartending older brother Leon.

Leon, 20, works in a Joseph Holt-operated site in Warrington called the Millhouse, with his boss and licensee Lisa Leyland saying the pub has been packed with proud locals supporting the teenage star.

Leon has been joined by others from the area to cheer on his 16-year-old brother during his amazing quarter-final and semi-final wins in the 2024 PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace in north London.

Luke Littler faced Luke Humphries last night (Wednesday 3 January) in the final having seen off Rob Cross 6-2 in the semi-final, Brendan Dolan 5-1 in the quarter-final on New Year's Day and Raymond van Barneveld 4-1 in the last 16.

Leyland, who has been running the Millhouse – which is near the Littler family’s home in Padgate – for the past five years, was hoping it would be third time lucky as staff and customers gathered at the pub to root for record-breaking Luke.

However, Luke fell at the final hurdle after a brave effort, going down 7-4 in the final.

Extra lucky charm

Before the final, she said: “The Millhouse is a proper ‘local’ pub since we really are at the heart of the community. Luke’s stunning performance is particularly close to us all – not least because Leon works here too, and we’ve been watching Luke’s success together.

“We feel like an extra lucky charm. The atmosphere is always warm and friendly here but it has been absolutely electric and fantastic during Luke’s matches. We’re really hoping we’ll be the lucky charm for Luke.”

Before the final, Leyland was not clear yet whether Leon would be at the pub or travelling to ‘Ally Pally’ to see his brother play since he and partner Katie have a new baby, George.

Leon has spoken of how the sport has always been his brother’s first love and said the support of his dad Anthony, a taxi driver, and mum Lisa, who works in a scented candle shop, was key.

Crying loudly

He explained: “He’d play darts whenever he could, sometimes just stopping for a meal before starting again.

“If mum and dad tried to take the darts away from him there’d be a real scene with him crying loudly.”

Luke is not only the youngest player to ever make the last 16, last eight, last four and now the final, but his quarter-final clash with Dolan drew the biggest viewership of any past last-eight clash in the competition's history.

He had only every played in four PDC premier event matches ahead of the tournament and now has a shot at the £500,000 grand prize.

Littler’s sister Caitlin, 21, added: “Luke’s performance has been absolutely brilliant and we are all so proud of what he has achieved. It’s all the more special to watch him action from the pub that lies in the heart of the community he knows so well.”

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