Greetings to you all. As I sit here writing this email on what is the hottest day of the year I still cannot fully rationalise or fully comprehend what has transpired over the last three and a half months since we ceased our face to face sessions at the Barn Hall.
I wrote to you in late May when we announced the launch of our virtual bridge sessions. I did not anticipate what a success they have been in allowing members and guests to enjoy playing bridge again. I do not for one moment think that online bridge can ever replace a face to face afternoon event but, all things considered, it is not a bad substitute.
Since we held our first event at the beginning of June 117 members and their guests have taken part in at least one online session. This can only be viewed as a wonderful and positive outcome and I should once again like to thank all those who have made this possible either via coaching, updating the website or simply by encouraging others to “have a go”.
What has been great is that we are able to provide this opportunity to play online to all of you no matter where you are living. We have had one member, who recently moved to Rutland, joining us regularly and then yesterday we had one member who has not been able to return from South Africa partnering a friend and being able to catch up with other members via the messaging facility. We have even had one member being able to play online despite having broken a bone which would have prevented her attending the Barn Hall.
Your committee has agreed that we will carry out a four week trial, starting Thursday 20th August, when the time per board will be reduced from 8 to 7 minutes. This trial will only take place on each Thursday.
Other News - You may have read that a few bridge clubs have restarted face to face sessions. The EBU has recently confirmed that it does not recommend or encourage Bridge Clubs to reopen. I can assure you that your Committee will only consider holding events again at the Barn Hall when both Governmental and EBU advice suggest that it is safe to do so.
9 October 2020
Greetings once again to you all. I last wrote to you all two months ago and I must confess that I was feeling much more positive then about life than I am now. The time when we can all meet up safely to play face to face bridge feels further away than ever. But we must retain confidence in the authorities and all pray that their cumulative guidance eventually sees us all through safely.
Online Bridge Update - I continue to be both amazed and delighted by how successful our online tournaments have been. This week we had 17 tables on both Monday and Thursday. We have had over 130 members and guests playing since we started at the beginning of June.
Members are now becoming very familiar with playing on BBO with a consequent increased tempo of bidding and card play. On Thursdays we have raised the number of boards to 21 and have also reduced the average time allowable per board in a round down to 7 minutes. Thank you to all of you who provided feedback when we were considering those moves.
Charity Events - This year we will be participating in the Children in Need online event on both Monday 9th November and on Thursday 12th November. The Surrey Dorin Salver SIMs event in aid of the Queen Elizabeth Foundation will be held as normal in December. We will be participating in this online event on Monday 7th December and on Thursday 10th December.
Other News - We also believe that we should be doing everything possible to help the Old Barn Hall during this period of reduced revenue for them. We normally raise close to £1,000 during Village Week which, obviously, we could not do this year. Your Committee has therefore decided to hold two fund raising online events in the third week of January 2021 with all additional monies raised being passed to the Barn Hall to help secure the long term future of this wonderful facility which we all enjoy
Keep safe and best wishes to you all.
13 December 2020
Season’s greetings to you all. I hope that like me you are beginning to feel more positive about the future. The recent news about the start of the inoculation programme can only be good news and, who knows, by the time you receive this message from me some of you might even have been contacted by your GP to arrange your own inoculation date. At last we can start to really believe that face to face bridge will return to the Barn Hall and, with luck, sometime between Easter and the end of June we will all be able to meet up again.
For those of you who longingly dust off your membership card in anticipation of our return to the Barn Hall you will have noted that this coming Monday, December 14th, we should have been holding our Christmas Party. Maybe we can all raise a glass to each other at midday on Monday and vow that the 2021 Christmas party will be one to remember.
Our online sessions continue to be successful with typically between 16 and 19 tables per session. I have noticed that, whilst there are some familiar faces whom we see less frequently, I have been delighted by those members who have recently started to dip their toes into our duplicate sessions. The new formats have proved popular with most players welcoming the changes. On Thursdays we are now playing 24 hands with a break at half-time so very similar to our standard sessions. Mondays will remain at 20 boards with a longer time allowance of 8 minutes per board to encourage as many of you as possible to continue playing online and maybe join us again.
Charitable Events - I never cease to be amazed and proud of the generosity of our members when it comes to supporting charitable events. I am delighted to report that we raised the fantastic amount of £1,112 for Children in Need in November ….. putting our recent fund raising into perspective we normally raise around £300. More recently, this last week we have participated in the Dorin Salver SIMs organised by Surrey. We entered on both Monday and Thursday and have so far raised £790 for the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation.
Barn Hall and Swiss Pairs Events - Some of you will be aware of the financial problems faced by the Barn Hall this year. Your Committee has decided that we will be holding a fund raising event for the Barn Hall in January to help with their finances and ensure that the Barn Hall continues to be there when we want it. This replaces the Village Week fundraising bridge tea for the Barn Hall that we were organising in June this year. On Monday 18th January and Thursday 21st January we will be holding two Swiss pairs events
New Year Invitation Event - I mentioned earlier that we should have been holding a Christmas Party on Monday. Your Committee wanted to somehow show our membership how important you all are during this period of enforced closure. We have decided to hold a free to enter online event on Wednesday 13th January 2021 starting at 1.30pm which is designed to attract those members who have not yet taken the bold step by joining one of our Monday and Thursday online duplicate sessions.
We should love as many of you as possible to have played competitively at least once online before we resume face to face bridge – just for the experience and to be able to say to family and friends – “You know, I have even taken the step to enter an online bridge tournament”.
I do so hope that as many of our members will participate and maybe satisfy a New Year Resolution to play online bridge in 2021.
This week is rather bitter sweet for the Club as we say goodbye to one of our members who is moving away from the area. Many of you will know that Geraldine Brock has for a number of years been planning to move to America to be nearer to her family. Geraldine, you will be missed by all but the good news is that thanks to the benefits of online bridge that we shall continue to play with you until such time as we return to face to face.
On behalf of all your Committee may I wish you a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season and for once we truly can look forward to a happier New Year.