Players, supporters and casual viewers attending next month’s 39th Isle of Man International Festival of Darts are in for a special treat.

Now the longest running event of its kind in the world, it was recently confirmed that, for the first time ever, Russ ‘The Voice’ Bray has agreed to not only be the official MC for the Dartshopper Festival’s Grand finals but also to lend his now iconic tones to ‘call’ the Open finals.

Held as is now customary at the Villa Marina from March 7-10, the festival with in excess of £35,000 prize money is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year and with the inclusion of Bray now confirmed even more so.

The latter has been calling matches for the Professional Darts Corporation for almost three decades, but he retired from bellowing out his now trademark ‘180’ at the PDC’s world championships after this year’s memorable final between Luke Humphries and 16-year-old [as he was then] sensation Luke Littler.

Although eventually losing out to his more seasoned opponent, the exploits of the young Lancastrian who, even at his tender age, has been a regular attendee at the IoM Festival for the last three years, grabbed the attention of the world and what a fitting climax it proved to be for the career of the aforementioned Russ Bray.

In fact so high is the esteem in which Bray is held, immediately following that final the PDC inducted the man with the instantly recognisable voice into its hall of fame – an accolade normally reserved to the Phil Taylors and Michael Van Gerwyns of the world!

Although Bray will still be ‘calling’ at PDC events all over the world, he will now as importantly, become an official brand ambassador for the sports body which he has so loyally served since 1996.

Will stepping down from calling at their world championships dampen his reputation or working diary?

Not a bit of it, in fact Bray, who down the years has carried out numerous advertising voice-overs for many brands including Corals, Cash Converters, McCoys and Ladbrokes – not to mention solo appearances on television shows like Casualty and Eastenders – has never been so busy with invites that are now taking him to all four corners of the world.

The fact that he has now agreed to stop off and officiate at the Isle of Man Darts Festival in a little over a fortnight’s time is something rather unique and special. As chairman of England Darts, which organises the event, enthusiastically confirmed: ‘The fact that Russ is coming over to officiate is not only something rather special for the festival but also promises to represent something special for all those who so passionately support the annual event, especially the hundreds who do so on the finals afternoon which this year will be Sunday, March 10.’

There is no entry fee to attend the finals in the Villa, so everyone is welcome to sample the unique atmosphere that his attendance will help generate.