TRIBUTES have been paid to a Wrexham woman dubbed an "unsung hero of Welsh sports". 

Rhian Speed (Speedy) died suddenly on February 25 at the age of 58.

She was a devoted sister, auntie, great auntie, godmother, cousin, and friend.

Wrexham-born Rhian lived a 'happy childhood' as one of ten children to Gladys and John Speed, growing up in the Lodge near Brymbo.

Rhian was well-known for her contribution to darts, winning the major title of Womens’ Winmau World Championship in 1990.

She played darts for Clwyd County, following in the footsteps of her late sister, Welsh International, Megan Roberts.

The Leader: Rhian winning the championship in 1990.Rhian winning the championship in 1990. (Image: UGC)

Rhian also played for Gwynedd County and represented Wales on 18 occasions.

As World Champion, Rhian was invited to Buckingham Palace, but the highlight and most proudest moment for her, was joining other Welsh Legends at the Welsh Hall of Fame.

Rhian's family said: "Rhian played down her achievements, her contribution to the sport, and the extent of what she had accomplished throughout her darting career while representing her beloved Wales.

"She certainly was as some have recently commented, an unsung hero of Welsh sports.

"Throughout her life, Rhian was known for her strong work ethic in her roles at Brymbo Steelworks, Newi and M&S Bank, where she received awards and recognition for her hard work and dedication to quality and high standards.

"During the lockdown, Rhian stepped up to support her sister, Avril, in her roadside café, where she quickly became popular with the regulars and made a huge impact on the day-to-day running of the café - supporting delivery drivers and travellers throughout a vital period.

"Rhian loved animals; her own dogs, Sheba and Cymro, were her utmost treasures, and she enjoyed taking them for walks around Gatewen, Moss Valley, and Alyn Waters.

"She was popular in New Broughton with the locals and her neighbours, and will be greatly missed by the community.

"Her love of animals extended to all types and she was a proud and regular contributor to the Candy and Tibby Trust, a charity responsible for looking after stray cats in the Wrexham area."

As well as her love for animals, Rhian's family played a huge part in her life. 

The family added: "Rhian adored her family, treating all of her nieces and nephews as if they were her own, teaching most of them how to drive.

"Anytime her loved ones needed anything, she was always the first to offer a helping hand. Rhian always put others before herself and her caring nature meant she’d never see anyone go without.

"Her friends and acquaintances often shared stories of how she supported them through difficult times and how much they appreciated her sense of humour and no-nonsense approach, while never expecting anything in return.

"We are devastated with the loss of Rhian, she was as humble as she was kind and the void is immeasurable."

The Leader: Rhian SpeedRhian Speed (Image: UGC)

An obituary was written on the World Darts Federation website, which paid tribute to Rhian. 

It said: "The Welsh Darts Organisation is saddened to announce the sudden passing of their former Welsh International player Rhian Speed from Wrexham at the age of 58.

"Rhian who played her County darts for Clwyd and Gwynedd represented her Country on 18 occasions which saw Wales ladies winning the British International Championships 3 times during that period.

"She also won the WDF World and Europe Cup Pairs Championship partnered by the late Sandra Greatbatch for Wales, the World title in the Netherlands in 1991 with the pair capturing the Europe crown the following year in Finland, which helped the Wales Women’s team to finish as Europe overall Champions that year.

"The WDF World Master was another major title that came her way when she defeated Deta Hedman 3 – 1 in the final held at the Ramada Inn London in 1990.

"A great lady and an outstanding darts player."

The Service of Celebration for the life of Rhian Speed, will be held on Friday 31st of March, 1.30pm at Wrexham Crematorium. 

The family has asked for family flowers only and added that donations in lieu of flowers will be donated to charities yet to be decided.

Dress code is Welsh colour themed; shirts, a scarf, a daffodil, and anything representing Rhian’s proud Welsh roots.