One of largest animal shelters in the country has put its name to the biggest and best one-day darts open in the country.

Stubbington Ark is using the Hampshire Open’s popularity to spread the word of its work of rescuing animals and to raise funds for its latest project – Paws4Help Appeal, writes Clive Downton.

Application forms for what will now be known as the Stubbington Ark Hampshire Darts Open appears at the foot of this page and will be repeated each week up until the closing date for entries.

Around 400 players and many spectators are expected at Southampton’s Novotel on April 12 to contest £2,600 in prize money, with £1,000 going to the winner.

The competition has a long tradition of attracting players of all standards. Pub, club, super league, county and even international quality players mingle – often a local player can be drawn against someone who is more used to playing in front of the television cameras.

For more than 25 years the Stubbington Ark (RSPCA Solent Branch) Animal Shelter in Fareham has served the community, taking in and re-homing abandoned animals over a 400 square mile radius in Hampshire.

Unlike the original Ark however, animals do not come in two by two but by the dozen. Domestic, exotics, farm animals and wildlife all cross the threshold of one of the largest animal shelters in the country.

Last year the shelter took in more than 3,000 animals and re-homed over 2,000. Fundraising manager Vanessa Eden said: “In October we launched our Paws4Help Appeal with an initial appeal figure of £250,000 to sustain and modernise the Stubbington Ark whilst continuing to promote awareness amongst the general public.

“The ongoing appeal will focus on raising funds for the overall benefit of animals in our care to sustain and improve levels of animal welfare.”

The first project in the Paws4Help Appeal will be to rebuild the Intake Cattery which currently houses 120 cats in separate cabins.

Hampshire County Darts spokesman Frank Branscombe said: “It is great to team up with such a worthwhile organisation and I’m sure the sport of darts has plenty to offer.

“This is the 15th time we have staged the event and it has built up such a good reputation nationally and locally.

“We hope the players and public will dig deep to back the Stubbington Ark so that they can continue the great work that they do.”