HISTORY OF BECCLES BRIDGE CLUB
A preliminary meeting was held on 4 November 1971 at the Sir John Leman High School with a view to form a Bridge club in Beccles. 15 Bridge players attended with 2 apologies for absence. Mr. D. Devereux was appointed to chair the meeting and he proceeded to explain his aims for the future of the club, the advantages of joining the English Bridge Union and start a discussion concerning the possibilities for a future meeting place for the club. The following officers were elected.
Chairman Mr D Devereux
Secretary Miss B. Palmer
Treasurer Mrs M. Davis
Committee Mrs M. Redding, Mr. S. Townsend
It was agreed that the Annual subscription would be £1.50 per year. The first home of the Club was the Kings Head Hotel in the centre of Beccles.
At the clubs first committee meeting on 28th Feb 1972 it was reported that the club had applied for membership to the EBU and that the membership had grown to 24. It was proposed and agreed that the club should meet on Tuesday evenings and Duplicate and Rubber Bridge should be played alternate weeks. The committee then joined the members for Rubber Bridge. Unfortunately, Mr Devereux resigned as Chairman during his first year of office as he moved to Reading..
The 1st A.G.M of the club on 5th Sept 1972 was held at the Kings Head Hotel. Miss B. Palmer was appointed chairperson and the first version of the club constitution was produced and accepted by the members. At this meeting it was agreed that each month there would be 2 evenings of Rubber Bridge, 1 evening of Rubber Bridge with a strange partner and one evening of Duplicate Bridge - 2 Duplicate Bridge evenings every 5 week month. When ”No Bid” all round a table at Duplicate Bridge it was decided that once dealt the hands must stand.
February 1973 saw the introduction of master points to the club for teams and pairs events.
The 1st Annual dinner of the club was held on March 9th 1973 and a 3 course meal with a turkey main course was enjoyed by 20+ members. Cost £1.30 pp. Wine was paid for from club funds. At a committee meeting in April 74 the funds stood at nearly £150 and it was proposed that the club reduce the table money to .05p and 10p for visitors. This was carried unanimously.
During the 1970s and 80s the club was involved with the Lowestoft League and played teams of eight matches against other clubs in the area and the odd match against North Walsham BC. Unfortunately the results of these matches were not recorded in the minutes although it would seem that there was the odd victory for the club. Also during the 70s there was a gradual reduction of Rubber Bridge evenings and it would seem from the records that this form of the game has not been played at the club since 1980 during which year the club moved its base to the Caxton Club.
The Bridge weekends at Mundesley began in March 1980 and continued until the Manor Hotel was sold to new owners and the service subsequently dropped to unacceptable levels.
The popular Beccles Open Swiss Teams event was started in 1987 by Dennis Ingham after he became club chairman and remained on the County fixture list until he moved to the London area. The event was resurrected after three years but as the County slot was in January there was always the concern that the weather would take its toll of the event and it ceased after the 2012 competition.
The club has been represented at most County events over recent years and not without success having won the County Committee Cup ,an interclub teams of eight competition for players below the rank of regional master, on a few occasions, most recently in 2018.
The club invested in Bridge technology by purchasing the Bridgemate scoring pads in 2013 together with the use of computer dealt hands as an aid to those players trying to improve their Bridge. In spite of this large capital outlay the table money stood at £1.50 per person with £2.00 for visitors and an annual membership fee of £1.00. However, as costs continued to rise the AGM of 2015 increased table money to £2.00 and £2.50 for visitors with the annual sub remaining at £1.00.
In 2018 the club decided to start a bridge teaching course with the aim of increasing membership numbers and ensuring the long term viability of the club. Two members of the club attended a two day teacher training course and plans are being developed to start the lessons in 2019. In order to help fund the teaching programme and also to purchase a club laptop, the membership fee was increased to £5 and the table money was to £2.50 at the 2018 AGM