Darts-mad friends played through one of the hottest days of the year to raise funds for a cancer-stricken Swindon drummer.

The darts marathon at the Swiss Chalet pub in Gorse Hill saw the group play from midday to midnight in a fundraising bid for the family of Alfie Simm.

Alfie, 26, was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in March after battling a mystery illness that saw him lose more than six stone in just 18 months.

The drummer in Swindon band the Groove Radicals underwent a first phase of chemotherapy at the Great Western Hospital earlier this year.

But the treatment failed and now Alfie faces a stronger course of chemotherapy – as well as trips to Oxford for radiotherapy treatment.

Alfie’s illness has forced him to take time off work. It’s placed a burden on wife Alison, 10-year-old stepson Jamie and daughter Frankie, 13 months.

Generous friends have already donated £1,000 to an online donations page set up by wife Alison.

Alfie said: “The amount of effort that some people are going to – it’s incredible. Everyone we know is donating something.”

Wife Alison, 36, a cleaner, said of the fundraising bid: “It means the pressure will be taken off financially.

“Our eldest was a bit worried – when you say the ‘C’ word you expect the worst. But we’ve tried to keep really positive.”

At just 13 months, the couple’s daughter is too young to understand exactly what is going on. “But she hasn’t been quite herself,” said mum Alison.

In addition to the online Justgiving page, a series of fundraising events will be held over the coming months.

On Saturday keen darts players Ivan Malcolm-Stewart, Jason Stanley and April Polden faced each other in the darts marathon at Gorse Hill’s Swiss Chalet pub.

Ivan, who is also organising an August bank holiday 24-hour darts challenge to raise money for the Simms, said: “Alfie is my best mate. He started coming into the Swiss Chalet when he was a youngster.

“When I heard the heard the news I was devastated. The family is obviously going to struggle and I want to do anything that we can in this time of need.”

For darts captain Ivan it meant missing his own 50th birthday party. He said ahead of the Saturday showdown: “I’m still inviting all my friends down.”

As well as the darts fundraiser, Alfie’s former Groove Radicals bandmates are planning a music night at the Swiss Chalet on 1 July and family friend Ian Baker is searching for a venue for a charity football tournament in July.

To donate to Alfie Simms’ appeal, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/alison-simm.