This year's report began by reviewing the fabric, fittings and fixtures of the club premises.
Significant progress has been made towards resolving the issue of the damp damagesd party wall with the property next door. Members will recall this is a longstanding problem going back some 10 years. Two previous remedial schemes having proved innefective the committee commissioned a report from the firm of building surveyors, Graham Gibbs Associates some 16 months ago. This report identified the principal causes of the problem to result from a lack of proper maintenance by our neighbours, and a copy was given to the manager for them to be pass on to the building's owners, and in the meantime negotiations initiated with our insurers and their loss adjusters. Regretfully after several month our insurers position was that despite previous committees having taken the best advice available to them at the time, and the fact that they had undertaken the repairs recommended to them, their efforts had ultimately proved ineffective in mitigating the loss, and due to the considerable period of time that had passed since the problem first became apparent they (our insurers), bore no liability in this matter.
Having heard nothing from next door’s owners, and the damage having become noticeably worse in the interim a second building survey was commissioned and our neighbours notified that unless they responded promptly we reserved the right to take legal action based on this second report. The works to next door necessary to prevent any further deterioration have been completed to our building surveyor’s satisfaction, we have also received an (admittedly small) monetary offer to contribute towards the remedial works we need to carry out. The works will take approximately three weeks to complete and some redecoration will be required afterwards, during that time play will be moved upstairs. The meeting left it in the hands of the committee to decide whether to accept the offer received or pursue the matter further.
The club’s PC has been replaced as the old one had became increasingly unreliable, and the screen, although still usable, had been damaged, the printer will also shortly be replaced. Steve Kelly was thanked for all the hard work he has put in over the years building and maintaining the club’s former website, but the committee decided to take the opportunity to switch to the most popular of the specialist bridge club hosting services, “bridgewebs”. In addition to all of the usual facilities its hoped that at least one new news story will be posted every month, members are therefore invited and encouraged to submit any stories, or ideas for stories they feel may be of interest.
Moving onto the membership, although we have lost several dear members this year I’m pleased to be able to report that we appear to have stemmed the trend of declining membership which has affected many bridge clubs over recent years.
The structured course of beginner’s bridge lessons which Penny took over last year attracts significant numbers of potential new members to the club, and when taken together with the regular beginners’ practice sessions represents an unmatched level of support for learners, making Hull BC the natural first choice for anyone wanting to take up bridge. Several of Penny’s learners have gained in ability and confidence sufficiently to progress through the Sunday Social sessions and take part in the mainstream activities of the club. I am also very happy to be able to report that over the past year eight former members, who had all resigned from the club for one reason or another have re-joined us and now enjoy attending regularly, I am confident that in the coming years we’ll see a steady growth in our membership.
Over the August bank holiday we were very happy to organise a charity event in support of David Wing’s “City Challenge Cup” and benefiting the Alzheimer’s Society. Sponsored by the EBU David’s challenge was to cycle round every one of England’s major cities and hold a charity bridge session in the EBU affiliated clubs of each one along his route. The committee decided that in addition to the bridge we’d mark the event with a cream tea, in the end the club succeeded in raising £306 for David’s challenge, which is significantly more than any other club in the country, well done to all. Mamie Seal and Brenda Ryley won the event and received a very nice cup donated and presented by David himself, shortly afterwards Mamie and Brenda were also featured in the EBU’s house magazine “Bridge” alongside David. The committee decided to make this an annual event, which this year will again benefit the Alzheimer’s Society, in succeeding years though it will alternate with another charity to be nominated by the committee, suggestions for suitable charities will be welcomed.
Yorkshire League teams of 8, our “B” team finished comfortably in the middle of division 6, however the “A” and “C” teams both had a more challenging time in their respective divisions (div 2 and div 7). As has frequently happened over the past few years, at the end of the season there was some discussion regarding the selection and organisation of our teams, and whether a fourth “D” team should be raised, as always though there was insufficient time to resolve these issues before the YL deadline for submitting teams for the 2013/14 season. Historically the three teams have largely been stand-alone affairs with their own core team line-up and dedicated team reserves, and so it has been suggested that there are some club members who although very interested in taking part have found it almost impossible to break into those teams. In principal the committee is supportive of the idea of raising another team, however it needs to be assured that there is sufficient enthusiasm for such a team to be viable over the long term. Discussions will be held throughout the year with team captains and others to determine whether we can support our current teams more effectively, and whether or not a “D” team should be raised for the 2014/15 season. David Wilson was thanked for all of the hard work he puts in as our Yorkshire CBA secretary, and for organising the many other competition events throughout the year.
The team of “Hull Teachers” won Division A of the Hull and East Riding Teams of 4 annual league competition, whilst “University Staff B” came first in the B Division. Club members not already taking part in this competition were encouraged to consider raising a team for the 2013/14 season, this may be particularly useful for members wishing to be considered for the proposed “D” team in 2014/15. Enquiries should be directed to either Mike Lang or Don Haines.
The chairman thanked the outgoing committee for all their time and commitment throughout the year.