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Luke Littler opens up on ‘crazy’ darts journey and admits he only trains for 30 minutes a day | UK News

Luke Littler, who lost the World Darts Championship final, has said his journey in the competition has been “crazy” and “hopes to get back to reality” – as he admitted only training for “half an hour a day”.

The 16-year-old, who took the tournament by storm, said his time in the competition has been “unbelievable,” adding, “getting to the final was the bigger bonus”.

When asked by reporters how long he trains every day, Littler said between 30 and 45 minutes a day, as any more “gets boring” – as he trains on his own.

He joked, there “must be a lot of natural talent, [because I] don’t practise”.

And passing advice to anyone trying to succeed in the game, Littler said: “Just keep at it. If you love the game. Keep at it, make friends, and stick to the board.”

Who is Luke Littler?

Luke Littler in action against Brendan Dolan
Littler took the lead in the final but lost in straight sets

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Littler denied fairytale win

Littler also reaffirmed darts “is a sport” – and said his “rollercoaster” journey has seen him receive messages from players from his favourite football team, Manchester United, including Luke Shaw, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones.

As Littler bears down on 800,000 Instagram followers, he called the social media explosion “crazy” adding, “I’ve just got to get on with it. You have just got to get used to it all”.

The teen, who lost in the final at Alexandra Palace to world number one Luke Humphries on Wednesday night, added he was looking forward to getting back to reality and would “chill out” and have some “private time” with his family.

He hopes the clamour surrounding his feat “dies down” as he goes back to Warrington, Cheshire, where fans have reportedly gathered around his house.

Nevertheless, Littler said he enjoyed the whole experience from the very first game to the chants of “there’s only one Luke Littler”.

“The Nuke” Littler also congratulated 28-year-old world champion Humphries saying he “deserved it” as the “better man on the night”.

Luke Littler has lost the World Darts Championship final to Luke Humphries
The pair embraced at the end of a hard-fought match

The teenager was on course for a spectacular victory commanding a 4-2 lead over Humphries, but the world number one fought back to win 7-4, claiming the title along with £500,000 in winnings.

Despite his defeat, life will change for the young darts player, who pocketed a £200,000 prize for finishing second and has got even more earning power owing to his celebrity status.

The line-up for the Premier League is released on Thursday – and Littler could be among those chosen.

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Weather warning issued for parts of UK – Eurostar warns of more delays as trains resume | UK News

Eurostar trains are set to resume this morning after “unprecedented” flooding in a tunnel brought travel chaos for thousands of people – as a severe weather warning was issued for large parts of the UK on New Year’s Eve.

Eurostar said all services would run to Paris, Brussels, London and Amsterdam on Sunday – but warned there could still be delays and packed stations.

Southeastern and Thameslink rail are also predicting serious disruption.

With New Year’s Eve celebrations hours away, the Met Office warned severe gales and heavy showers may lead to disruption.

A yellow weather warning for wind is in force from 10am until around midnight tonight.

The warning covers the south and southwest of Wales, much of the south of England, including the Isle of Wight, and the South West.

People have been told to expect gales and severe gales, with heavy showers potentially leading to disruption to road, rail, air and ferry journeys.

Bus and train journeys may also be affected and short term losses of power are possible in some areas.

Get the latest weather forecast for your area

The yellow weather warning covers parts of the south of the UK
Pic: Met Office

In London and the south, winds are expected to strengthen, while scattered, blustery showers are expected to develop throughout the day, possibly thundery along southern coasts.

Some brighter spells are possible between showers.

Eurostar problem ‘under control’

Travellers were stranded yesterday when all Eurostar trains to and from London St Pancras were cancelled.

Many were forced to frantically arrange a last-minute flight, ferry or road journey – with some people’s holiday plans ruined.

A man in St Pancras was seen holding an iPad reading “taxi to Paris”, while images showed the track near Ebbsfleet in Kent being deluged by a burst pipe.

Thames Water said it believed it was caused by a “fire control system and not a Thames Water pipe”.

However a spokesman for HS1, which operates the track, said: “The source of the flooding will be the subject of an investigation, but at this stage we have no evidence to suggest that the fire control system was related to the issue in any way.”

Eurostar said trains would soon resume after the problem was “brought under control”, adding that it was “sorry for the inconvenience”.

“At least one tunnel can now be used”, it announced, while still warning “some speed restrictions” in the morning could cause more delays and “very busy” stations.

All Eurostar trains have been cancelled
Eurostar trains have been cancelled
Passengers were left stranded at a packed St Pancras station in London

Southeastern rail services were also disrupted by the flooding – and the company said problems were likely to linger on Sunday with a reduced service between St Pancras and Ashford.

“Whilst service recovers, trains running between these stations may still be cancelled, delayed or revised to terminate at Ebbsfleet International,” it said.

Thameslink is also predicting “major disruption” until the early hours of 1 January – due to a “shortage of train crew”.

Services between Bedford and London, Brighton and London, and Three Bridges and London are expected to be worst hit.

There will also be no overnight services on the network for people heading back from New Year celebrations.

A spokesperson for HS1 also confirmed the Eurostar line “will be operational in the morning”.

“We understand how frustrating this has been for passengers and apologise for the inconvenience caused at such an important time of the year,” the firm added.

The Met Office said bad weather was unlikely to have been the cause of the tunnel flood as there hadn’t been any heavy rain in the area at the time.

People stand on a platform at the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord train station, as an unexpected strike by French workers at Eurotunnel, the undersea link between Britain and continental Europe, interrupted cross-Channel rail traffic, threatening the Christmas holiday plans of many travelers, in Paris, France, December 21, 2023. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier
The first Eurostar to Paris is set to leave London at 8.01am on Sunday

A tunnel flooded near Ebbsfleet
The flood happened in the tunnel near Ebbsfleet in Kent

One of many travellers whose plans were ruined by the cancelled Eurostar trains was Matthew Hulls, 40, from Colchester.

He said he was “devastated” and had to return home after a surprise trip to Cologne for his partner was scuppered.

“My partner and I are big ice hockey fans of the local team and I’d purchased VIP tickets as a surprise for her, so (I’m) pretty devastated,” said Mr Hulls.

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It’s the second time this month that people have been left stranded due to Eurostar problems.

All services were temporarily suspended in the days before Christmas after an unexpected strike by French staff unhappy about their end-of-year bonus.

National Lottery winners reveal what they are spending their money on – from crazy golf courses to steam trains | UK News

What would you do if you won the lottery?

This year’s Lotto winners plan to spend their money in very different ways – from building a crazy golf course, to buying a steam train.

David Lawrence from Surrey wants a crazy golf course in his back garden to help those with mental health and social care needs after winning £1m in September.

A philanthropist, Mr Lawrence has spent more than 30 years fundraising for good causes and said he believed in the power of altruism.

He said: “I am a true believer that it really is better to give than to receive and my fundraising and charity work is more than just a passion for me, it’s my life’s work.

“It may sound a little crazy but I’ve seen over the years that physically engaging activities really do help and inspire young adults with mental health and social care needs.”

He hopes many can benefit from his golf course which is also one of his passions.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY DECEMBER 26 Undated handout photo issued by Camelot of David Lawrence who plans to build a crazy golf course in his back garden after his £1 million Lotto win. Issue date: Tuesday December 26, 2023.
David Lawrence plans to build a crazy golf course in his back garden

Meanwhile, 70-year-old grandmother Doris Stanbridge was the lucky winner of £10,000 a month, every month, for 30 years and has planned holidays since her retirement.

She said: “It still seems a bit strange when I think about the win and that I will get that money every month for 30 years. It gives me a reason to be around until I am 100.”

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY DECEMBER 26 Undated handout photo issued by Camelot of Doris and Keith Stanbridge from Dorking celebrate £10,000 every month for the next 30 years Set for Life win from The National Lottery. Issue date: Tuesday December 26, 2023.
Doris and Keith Stanbridge celebrate £10,000 every month for the next 30 years

Steam train enthusiast Neil Leighton from Hereford plans to get one of his own after he landed a £1m prize on an Instant Win Game last month.

He said: “Ever since my grandpa took me to see my first steam train when I was three, I have been fascinated.”

Mr Leighton said that “if someone had told me I’d be a millionaire I’d… have laughed. Just goes to show, magic can happen”.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY DECEMBER 26 Undated handout photo issued by Camelot of Neil Leighton celebrates his 1M National Lottery win at the Talyllyn Railway. Issue date: Tuesday December 26, 2023.

And Karleen Reece and her husband Mark are going to treat their three children and then transition to fostering.

Ms Reece said: “I’ve always wanted to foster children. Mark and I discussed it many years ago and then we had our own.”

Her three kids will be leaving home soon and the lottery win has given the mother a chance to become a caregiver.

“I have too much love to give,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to foster but never had the right circumstances.

“The win will allow me to do this.”

Read more:
Winner ‘immensely proud’ after renovating dream estate
England call-up for winner who bought pool table

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY DECEMBER 26 Undated handout photo issued by Camelot of Karleen Reece and her husband Mark who are going to treat their three children and then start the journey to fostering following their Lottery win. Issue date: Tuesday December 26, 2023.
Karleen Reece and her husband Mark aim to begin fostering following their Lottery win

The biggest jackpot won in the UK this year was £111.7m, which was taken home by an anonymous single ticket holder back in June.

A new National Lottery millionaire was made every day on average in 2023 – with more than £4.5bn paid out in total and 757 National Lottery players winning a major prize of £50,000 or above this year.

In the last reported financial year, almost £1.9bn was raised for National Lottery Good Causes, which goes towards thousands of projects aiming to make a difference in communities across the country.

Andy Carter, senior winners’ adviser at the National Lottery, said: “Lives are being changed every day – all with a little pink ticket.”

There’s still a chance to become a millionaire this year with a £15m Lotto “Must Be Won” jackpot up for grabs on 30 December.

Eurostar trains to resume after French strike – as Storm Pia causes more travel disruption | UK News

Travellers heading to Europe should soon be able to resume their journey after a deal was done to end a strike that halted cross-Channel trains.

Thousands were stranded on Thursday when French workers rejected an end-of-year bonus.

Services affected included Eurostar, which runs passenger services from London St Pancras, and Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, which runs vehicle-carrying trains from Folkestone.

The disruption started about midday and at least 30 Eurostar trains were cancelled, with many turning back to where they started.

Eurotunnel later said management and trade unions had reached a deal that meant services would “resume progressively this evening and Eurostar tomorrow morning [Friday]”.

Getlink, the company that manages Channel Tunnel infrastructure, said unions wanted three times the €1,000 (£866) bonus they were offered.

The problems came on a day when all services from London Euston were suspended for a time due to overhead line damage near Watford Junction.

Passengers at Euston Station, London, as travellers get an early start to their Christmas journeys ahead of the weekend. Strong winds are disrupting the start of the Christmas getaway for millions of people. Train services across large parts of Britain are being affected by Storm Pia as fallen trees and other debris damage overhead power lines and block tracks. Picture date: Thursday December 21, 2023.
Passengers were stuck without trains at London Euston

Disruption at London's King's Cross Station
People were also prevented from going on to platforms at King’s Cross

King’s Cross also had severe delays due to a fallen tree in the Newark area.

Large crowds massed outside the stations and on concourses, staring at their phones and trying to work out alternative routes.

At 4.30pm, Euston said the problem had been fixed and “we are working closely with train operators to get you on the move”.

However some operators, such as London Northwestern, were still reporting disruption on Thursday evening.

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Plane struggles to land in Storm Pia

Storm Pia also disrupted air travel, with some planes diverting from northern airports and British Airways grounding two dozen flights.

Video showed a pilot fighting to land his plane at Birmingham in 50mph crosswinds.

The aircraft was less than 100ft from the tarmac when it was forced to pull up – but it made it down safely on the second try.

Handout photo issued by Network Rail of a 10ft trampoline which was blown onto the main line between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh
A trampoline was blown on to lines between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh

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Gusts of 115mph were recorded at Cairngorm Summit in the Highlands, while Brizlee Wood, near Alnwick in Northumberland, saw 81mph.

About 40,000 households were affected by electricity outages in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.

But nearly all were reconnected by Thursday evening, said operator Northern Powergrid.

Elsewhere, a man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after a tree hit his car in Clifton, Derbyshire. Police in the county said a number of trees had fallen on the road.

Storm Pia, named by Danish forecasters, is set to move towards mainland Europe where its effect is expected to be more severe, said the Met Office.

Eurostar: Hundreds of seats on trains left unsold to avoid long queues at stations | UK News

Hundreds of seats on Eurostar trains from London to the continent are deliberately being left unsold so long queues don’t build up at stations, the company has admitted.

A cut in the number of border officials means it takes nearly 30% longer to process passengers leaving St Pancras International than before Brexit and the pandemic.

Also contributing to the delay is the post-Brexit requirement to stamp UK passports for outbound travel.

Eurostar train

Seat numbers are now being capped to prevent bottlenecks at stations.

The first daily services connecting London to Paris and Brussels can take up to 900 passengers.

But 350 of those seats are intentionally not being sold.

Eurostar runs the only high-speed trains that directly link the UK to France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel.

As well as London’s St Pancras, it also runs UK services from Ebbsfleet and Ashford, both in Kent.

Read more:
Eurostar to axe direct trains between London and Disneyland Paris due to Brexit
France vows financial support to ‘maintain strategic Eurostar link’ with UK

Eurostar chief executive Gwendoline Cazenave said it was vital that the first trains to leave are on time to avoid a knock-on problem.

“If you delay the first train, then you delay the second and then it’s a very bad customer experience,” she said.

“Our customers say it’s awful.”

Eurostar trains at St Pancras
Eurostar trains at St Pancras

Passengers are being urged to arrive up to 90 minutes before their departure so they have sufficient time to get through border checks, which is three times longer than before the pandemic.

Commuters hit with five days of rail strikes, amid fears millions of Britons may ditch trains for good | UK News

Strikes by rail and road staff are set to cause extensive disruption to commuters returning to work after the Christmas break – amid fears that continued walkouts could cause a years-long slump in demand for train travel.

About 40,000 members of the RMT union from Network Rail and 14 train operators are taking industrial action today, tomorrow, Friday and Saturday – meaning most services nationwide will not run.

Train drivers are also set to stage a one-day walkout on Thursday, meaning the UK’s rail network will be crippled throughout the first working week of 2023. Passengers have been urged to only travel if necessary.

Mick Lynch  general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) joins members on the picket line outside London Euston train station

In other developments, more than 100 road traffic officers and control room operators working for National Highways in England are launching their own 48-hour strike today.

While this walkout is expected to have little impact on the network, roads are expected to be busy on both days as commuters ditch the train and head to the office in their cars.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has warned that strikes on the railways will continue until the government stops “blocking” a deal to resolve the bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

The union claims that – despite its best efforts over the festive period – rail employers have not arranged any formal negotiations.

Mr Lynch also alleges that an “unprecedented level of ministerial interference” is preventing progress from being made, and he said RMT representatives are “available around the clock for talks”.

RMT strike days will see approximately half of the network shut down, with just 20% of normal services expected to run. These trains will also start later and finish much earlier than usual, with journeys only possible between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

According to The Times, ministers fear that millions of passengers will give up on train travel altogether as a result of the worst week of rail disruption in 30 years.

A government source told the newspaper: “This is an act of self-harm – a generation of passengers will just write off the railways. We’re talking about permanent scarring. The longer the strikes continue, the greater the risk.”

But Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan, who represents train drivers, said workers have been left with little choice but to strike because they haven’t had a pay rise since April 2019 – with high levels of inflation resulting in a real-terms pay cut.

Stressing that his union is always happy to negotiate with train operators, he added: “The ball is in their court. The companies, or this Tory government which stands behind them, could end this dispute now by making a serious and sensible pay offer. It is up to them.”

The Department for Transport has warned that passengers have “rightly had enough of rail strikes” – and called on unions to stop taking industrial action.

A spokesperson said: “The government has demonstrated it is being reasonable and stands ready to facilitate a resolution to rail disputes. It’s time the unions came to the table and played their part as well.

“Inflation-matching pay increases for all public-sector workers would cost everyone more in the long-term – worsening debt, fuelling inflation, and costing every household an extra £1,000.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper will be interviewed live on Sky News at 7.20am this morning – followed by RMT general secretary Mick Lynch at 7.30am.