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Welcome to Afternoon Bridge Club

Death of a bridge teaching icon

We have just heard that the wonderful Bobby Dinsdale has passed away, after being in poor health for some years. So many of us owe decades of fun, frustration, friendship and intellectual challenge to the indefatigable teaching team of Bobby and her husband Dave.

I first encountered Bobby (once met, never forgotten!) at Wymondham High School some 20 years ago when I decided to take up Tai Chi. I had just been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and it took me about five minutes to discover that standing on one leg was no longer for me.

The kindly adult ed receptionist passed me a huge folder and said: “Why not try something else.” And I’d always fancied learning bridge.

I was ushered into The Presence where Bobby was already holding forth, as only she could do, on the hierarchy of suits and my life changed forever. Bridge was fascinating from Day One but we were expected to give it our all. Woe betide the hapless student (me on one occasion) who claimed that the metaphorical dog had eaten her homework! I never tried that one again.

We gradually learned enough about the game to play each other, with every detail of bridge ethics and etiquette enforced as if we were competing at a tournament. And the contests soon continued outside the classroom as well as our fellow students became our friends. I remember Dave saying there was no sight which pleased him more than bridge players with their diaries out.

We took classes with Bobby and Dave for years – and later also formal play sessions where we could seek advice about the right bid. It was all preparing us for the great day when we would be pronounced fit to set foot in Nirvana. A proper bridge club!

Dave and Bobby retired some years ago, to all of our huge regret, but their legacy lives on in the hundreds – maybe more – of bridge players in Norfolk and beyond who owe this wonderful hobby and the friends they made playing it to the Dinsdales.

Farewell Bobby and thank you. Do you know every time I consider whether to lead a suit my partner didn’t bid I can still hear your voice echoing down the decades declaiming: “What part of always do you not understand?”

Jane Scarfe

ABC Away - Return of the Champions!

Just for a long weekend Team Norfolk felt world class, sweeping all bridge opponents before us - including, on one occasion, the trip organiser. He didn't relish that but we did!

We're talking about the first ABC Away since BC (before Covid) when Val Bobbins, Jan Pooley, Sue Falgate and I (Jane Scarfe) gallivanted off to the four star Wroxton House Hotel near Banbury for a long weekend of bridge, Sauvignon, seriously tasty nosh, rural strolls, cultural enhancement and retail therapy at Bicester Village. I'm extremely jealous incidentally that Jan spotted that green leather backpack handbag before I did and unfortunately they only had one of them. Not that I'm bitter, or anything.

But you're interested in the bridge. Lots of sessions morning and evening and the life-enhancing experience was that, although they all seemed to be club players, most presumably attended clubs where the standard was a bit lower than ABC. So, while we didn't completely sweep the board, especially after all that Sauvignon for which the other three are, obviously, completely responsible, at least one pair out of our two came top or second virtually every session. Aided by the fact that there tended to be separate North and South results. Needless to say I lapped that up, especially bearing in mind my typical performance round here! laugh

All I can say is a huge thank you, as always, to Val Bobbins for researching options and organising the weekend and, next year, let's turn that fabulous four into a super six, an elevated eight or even ABC's Top Ten!

There will be a photo. Shortly. It's like this. There are two virtually identical snaps of the four of us in front of our favourite spot in the hotel, the cocktail bar. In one of them I have my eyes closed. In the other Val has her eyes closed. Would you believe, despite my being website editor and writing this piece, Val isn't having the shot with her eyes shut on the website. So we are awaiting the good graces of the Photoshop jockey to enhance reality.

Remembering Harry Fox

Tribute by Nigel Block, with additional information from Jan Wells who also grew up in Tottenham

Harry Fox was born in Hackney in 1928 and spent his childhood in Tottenham during the Depression. Sadly his father was killed during a night of bombing whilst Harry and his mother and sister were staying with relatives near Leicester.

After the war Harry lived in Tottenham with his grandmother. He enjoyed London and became a lifelong supporter of the ‘Spurs.’ He was drafted into the Royal Navy, and on discharge followed a career as a Risk Assessor for submarines and warships.

On retirement he and his wife moved to East Anglia and he concentrated on bridge with the twin purpose of inventing the perfect bidding system while simultaneously hounding the EBU for refusing to endorse his more outlandish suggestions! Following the sudden death of his wife he moved to Norwich.

Harry was always keen to put together a team all playing his version of Strong Diamond. This was achieved by a revolving combination of Nigel Block, Paul Darby, Mark Hill, and Lena Taylor.

Over the years he won many major EBU and NCBA events with a range of partners, always acting with a calm dignity and a polite even-handed courtesy to partners and opponents alike. During the Covid lockdowns he played mainly online rather than F2F.

He died in June 2022 and will be sadly missed by all Norfolk bridge players who knew him. He had no living relatives.

Farewell to Alan Hourd

We are greatly saddened to report that one of Norfolk’s longest-standing bridge players died at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital as a consequence of Covid.

Alan Hourd was a longstanding member of ABC, as well as the N&N, Noverre and Wymondham.

His bridge partner of many years Margaret Motch says she is devastated: “It’s very sad news about Alan. I’m so shocked because we played together for so long.”

Alan spent a couple of weeks in the N&N with Covid and was discharged but, unfortunately, had to be re-admitted when he contracted pneumonia brought on by Covid. He died on Monday 15 August.

This report will be updated and circulated again via email when funeral details are available - which they now are. See below:

Dear Friends and Family Members,

Alan Hourd passed away in Hospital on August 15th 2022, Aged 87 years. 
Alan's funeral service will be held at Woodland Hall, Colney Wood, on
Saturday September 10th at 10am.  Family flowers only, and non-formal
clothing please.  Donations to the Alzheimer's Society - in memory of
Alan's mother - should be sent to Gordon Barber Funeral Home, 2 St
Williams Way, Thorpe St Andrew, NR7 0AW.  Please let me know if you wish
to attend the funeral so we are able to share an idea of numbers (Tracey
Spinner,, 07970289643).

If you are unable to attend the funeral in person, please make use of
the webcast facility to join us for the funeral.  
Username: yozi3858
Password: 378982

Following on from the funeral, Alan's friends are invited to join Marco
and Tracey (the brats) Tony (the brother) and Alex and Jana (the
grandchildren) at 2 Highfield Avenue, Brundall, NR13 5LE - to celebrate
his life and share their favourite stories.


Tracey Spinner (nee Hourd)
Marco Hourd

Are we nearly there yet?

Every parent's unfavourite question from little voices on the back car seats now keeps cropping up in bridge clubs, schools, homes, hospitals and workplaces. Is Covid finally on the way out? Are we nearly there yet?

ABC Chairman Sarah Chamberlin said: “It’s such a joy to see people and catch up. I really hope that clubs like ours will take off again in 2022, especially as we play in the afternoons.”

With most restrictions now lifted – whether or not you agree with the timing - we thought it right to update you on what's happening at ABC and how the past nearly two years have affected the club. 

Well, we are still here playing online via RealBridge on a Wednesday afternoon and Face-to-Face at the Costessey Centre on Thursday afternoons. Wednesday numbers are reasonable – averaging over nine tables during January. Face-to-Face is more disappointing and so far we are not covering costs, which is not a situation which can continue indefinitely.

The Stafford Hall is huge and airy and an ideal location for returning as safely as possible to Face-to-Face bridge. We play with windows open. Why not give it a try and see how you feel about it? Omicron appears to be peaking and we are optimistic that, week on week, more of us will feel confident enough to meet again.

Also most of us have taken to playing RealBridge during Covid and we have every intention of continuing to play online on Wednesday afternoons. The great advantage is that people can join us from anywhere in the country – or indeed the world. We can now claim to be ABC International with members in Sri Lanka and those who join us from their holiday homes in Portugal, France and the Canary Islands!

People have been playing and joining from Yorkshire, Kent, Essex, Warwickshire and Peterborough. Not only that, much-loved club members who have moved away like Paul and Sue Hutchings are able to join us regularly from Sussex.

Getting Back to Bridge

It can all feel rather daunting.

Some of us, for whatever reason, didn't take to playing bridge online. With lockdown and shielding that might mean you haven't picked up a card for two years. 

We understand. And we hope we've come up with a solution to ease you back gently into the game we love. The ABC committee has members on standby to partner you and help you get your confidence back up again. It's like riding a bike. Give it a try and it will all come back to you - and we promise not to get impatient if it's a slow process!

Just go to the bottom right Find a Partner item on this page and say you need a Back to Bridge partner.

NCBA ..... forthcoming County Events

On January 8 it's the Eastern Counties Cup - a teams event which is NCBA's qualifier for the EBU's Pachabo Trophy.   The Pachabo will be held online so the Eastern Counties Cup will be played on RealBridge.   Start 11.00 am.   £4.00.   Enter via the NCBA's website  Norfolk Contract Bridge Association, Norfolk, England (

1st February 2023
Winter Trophy 5
RealBridge 1.30pm
2nd February 2023
Club Pairs
Costessey Centre 1.30 pm
8th February 2023
Club Pairs
RealBridge 1.30pm
9th February 2023
Club Pairs
Costessey Centre 1.30 pm
Club Pairs
Director: Graham Ware
Scorer: John Bradley
Club Pairs
Scorer: Barbara Baker
Club Pairs
Director: Graham Ware
Scorer: John Bradley
Club Pairs Individual Handicap
Scorer: Jane Scarfe
Competition Winners

Peter Falgate Trophy - Paul King and Madeleine Harris

ABC Open Pairs Trophy - Val Bobbins and John Copson

Summer Trophy - Chris Mallon and Gillian Hall

Wendy Gee Charity Pairs - Ben Roberts and Carol Lippert

Chairman's Trophy - joint first; Val Bobbins and Jan Pooley & Paul King and Madeleine Harris

* MORE* Masterpoint promotions

Congratulations to ABC members  who are celebrating EBU masterpoint rank promotions in May. Well done to:

John Dennis Life Master
Nicki Cann 1 Star Master

Added to our existing recent roll of honour:


Paddy Seligman 3 Star Master
Graham Hardman  7 Star Regional Master

Paul Hutchings  1 Star Master

Bob Browne  Club Master
Carol Browne  Club Master

Chris Mallon  Premier National Master
Penelope Stroud  1 Star Regional Master
Gabriel Ip  Grand Master
David Gill  2 Star Master
Jane De La Tour  1 Star Master
Romesh Bandaranaike  Club Master
Rasika Karunatilake  Club Master


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The Afternoon Bridge Club is affiliated to the EBU and the NCBA (Norfolk Contract Bridge Association).