Bookham Afternoon Bridge Club
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Spare Partners

We have Spare Partners for all Thursdays to 16 December with the exception of 9 December. Thank you to members who have volunteered.  We would welcome volunteers for further dates. Please contact Neil or Kate if you can help.

Guide to online bridge

► See the guide for information about joining an online BABC session and advice about online play

News from the Chairman
Letter from the Chairman 6 October 2021

Hello again everyone,

We have just come back from a week in Devon and it really does feel as if much of our society is returning to a more normal way of life. Enjoyable walks along the sea front and relatively busy shops and restaurants and then there is the added prospect and enjoyment of face-to-face bridge adding to the excitement. I know that many of you will have received your booster vaccination or at least have a date in the diary which must be most comforting. Tina had hers yesterday which psychologically was a real positive boost. 

Your committee recently met both to review how the reopening of face-to-face sessions has turned out and also to consider any changes which can be safely introduced. We have been delighted by the initial response from members which has grown from nine tables attending the first week to now in the low teens. It was wonderful to catch up with fellow members in what genuinely felt like a very safe environment. We know that, for some, having the doors and windows open might be a little uncomfortable so I would urge you to dress appropriately when coming along.

We are trying to still offer a spare partner at each session so please do volunteer for this. We are grateful to those who have already offered but there are a number of weeks during October and November where we still have a gap. Each week there have been a larger number than usual of players looking for a partner. We welcome this but do please, if you do not have a partner, come along by 1.00 pm so that we can match players up and allow the Director to set the movement. 

I am delighted to be able to share with you all that your committee has decided that a number of iterative steps can now be taken towards achieving our ultimate goal of restoring a full twice weekly face-to-face Club.

Firstly, we can once again offer refreshments during the interval. In the interests of everyone’s safety we will only be making available tea and water/squash. Should you wish for any alternative beverage then do please bring it along with you ready prepared. We have also sourced small individual wrapped packets of biscuits. Again, if you have any specific dietary needs do please bring those with you. 

Importantly, no-one other than our tea lady plus one committee helper should enter the kitchen. Further, please when queuing for your tea, and we would suggest that only one from each pair collects drinks, please do consider the safety of your fellow members and do wear a facemask.

Secondly, we believe that we should soon re-open the sessions to non-members. Therefore w.e.f. from Thursday 28th October any individual who is already known to the Club either through having played online with us or attended a face-to-face session since January 2019 may attend. Table money for non-members will remain at £3 per session.

We will monitor how table numbers increase before deciding when to re-open fully to any completely new visitor.

Finally, we felt that it was now the time to plan an AGM. We will not have held an AGM for more than two years so it is long overdue. You will shortly be receiving formal confirmation from Kate that we have called an AGM to be held on Thursday 18th November (11.30) before the face-to-face session. We will try to circulate electronically more papers than usual ahead of the meeting, including accounts for 19/20 and 20/21, so that questions can still be submitted by those who do not feel comfortable attending in person. There will be vacancies for the Committee so do please let me, or any other member of the committee, know if you would be willing to contribute and share in the running of our Club. 

Sadly it will not be possible to safely arrange a Christmas party this year. We hope that we might be able to offer an alternative celebration before next summer. I am sure that you will all support this decision.

We remain committed to restoring our Club to being a fully functioning twice a week face-to-face Club. However, we know that it will be some time before all members feel confident attending and so we can confirm that we will be holding a Monday online session until at least the end of January. 

There will be no face-to-face session on either Thursday 23rd or Thursday 30th December. We will however be offering an additional online session at 1.00 pm on both Thursday 23rd and 30th December. Monday online sessions will continue weekly throughout December and January.

As a Club we were amazingly generous in raising funds for charitable causes during the closure period. Once again this year we will be raising funds for Children in Need in November (Monday 8th and Thursday 11th) and Queen Elizabeth's Foundation for Disabled People in December (Monday 6th and Thursday 9th) (Dorin Salver). We will again be suggesting a minimum donation of £3 per session which can be donated either via an online bank payment or in person at the Barn Hall if attending the Thursday sessions.

Best wishes to you all and I hope to see more of you in person soon and please do feel free to contact me at any time if you have any questions (and maybe to offer yourself as a spare partner) 

Neil

18 Months of Lockdown Bridge - Letters from the Chairman

13 May 2020 (Live play stopped after 12 March)

Sadly we must continue to keep the club closed for the foreseeable future and we will continue to do so until such time as the authorities decide that it is safe to resume face to face bridge activity.

Your committee will be meeting on Friday 22nd May and will be discussing what more we might be able to do to help our members during this period. Potentially we might run a virtual Club running weekly duplicate tournaments for members.

Please continue to keep safe and we all look forward to meeting again when the lockdown restrictions are ultimately fully relaxed.

24 May 2020

Once again we wake with a glorious sunny morning – so different to most Bank Holiday weekends. 

Your committee met on Friday 22nd May via Zoom – that was a different and technological challenge which we mastered.  I am delighted to be able to let you know that, with effect from Monday 1 June, Bookham Afternoon Bridge Club will be running two duplicate sessions online per week.  We sincerely hope that as many members as possible decide to take part in these sessions.

Over the next few days we will be changing the front page of our website to include as much information as possible about this new venture. 

We have postponed holding an AGM until such time as face to face bridge sessions at the Barn Hall have restarted.

I sincerely hope that these two developments, establishing a virtual online club combined with a stable administration of your club, will combine to secure the long term future of BABC and that future members will not just be celebrating a seventy-fifth anniversary but will go on to celebrate a hundred years of enjoyable and friendly bridge in Bookham.

22 June 2020

I hope that you continue to remain virus free and generally healthy during these challenging times.

Well the big news is that Bookham Afternoon Bridge Club is back playing bridge, albeit online, and that an increasing number of members have taken the opportunity to play in an online duplicate session. We held our first session on Monday 1 June when we had 11 tables. Our latest session on Thursday 18th June saw 15 tables competing.  So over the 6 sessions which have so far taken place a total of 86 different members, with a few guests, have participated at least once.

We are delighted with this response and yesterday your committee met via Zoom and have agreed that these twice weekly sessions should continue throughout this enforced period of being unable to hold face to face sessions. 

Stay safe and enjoy your bridge together in whatever format you might choose

31 July 2020

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.

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.

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.

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. 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.  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.

Barn Hall and Swiss Pairs Events - 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.

New Year Invitation Event - 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 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”.

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.

23 March 2021

I firmly believe that the day is coming ever closer when we shall all be able to meet up again and resume playing face to face bridge. For many of us that day cannot come soon enough. There are some of you who are understandably nervous about this but I shall put firmly on record that we WILL NOT start playing at the Barn Hall until such time as both the government and the EBU have confirmed that they are satisfied that  it is safe for our membership to do so.

Your Committee will be meeting once again via Zoom in mid-April and high on that agenda will be a discussion about starting to make plans for the safe resumption of face to face bridge. To help us with our debate we wish to understand how you personally are feeling about this and we have compiled a very short questionnaire for you to complete.  

I said earlier that there was one topic from the last twelve months that I wanted to flag - and that is the amazing charitable generosity of our membership. In November we raised an unbelievable amount of £1,112 for Children-in-Need, more than four times our normal amount raised.

In December, The Surrey County Bridge Association runs an annual event raising funds for Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People.  In 2019 Bookham raised just over £200 but in 2020 an amazing amount of £957 was donated by our members and their invited guests.

In January the Club raised funds towards the upkeep of the Barn Hall. Contributions flooded in not just from those who played online but also from many of our members who are not able to play online but who value our wonderful venue. In total, we raised £1,950 which is double the amount we have raised during Village week.  Thank you one and all for this generosity.

On behalf of your Committee I am sending you all our very best wishes and let us all hope that the next time that I write to you it will be with details of when we are starting face to face sessions again.

23 June 2021

I hope that you are all managing to keep well and that your spirits remain positive. 

With the gradual relaxation of restrictions I hope that you have also managed to resume, as much as is possible, a more normal life and taken the opportunity to see friends and family who for so long were “out-of-bounds”.

I had so hoped that by now I would be contacting you to let you know when face to face sessions can start again at the Barn Hall. However, since the final date for the lifting of the current restrictions has still not been confirmed and without knowing whether any form of social distancing or guidance in respect of mask wearing would still be required it has therefore not been possible for your Committee to make a final decision. We have scheduled a Committee meeting for Wednesday 21st July and we will then let you know the date and format for the resumption of face to face bridge sessions and do keep an eye on our website for news updates.

I look forward to seeing some of you online again soon and, for others, face to face, with all fingers crossed, in early August.

Keep safe and best wishes,

27 July 2021

I had anticipated that the next time that I would be writing to you all it would include the good news that we were restarting face to face imminently. However, and you don’t need me to provide you with the most recent infection statistics and direction of travel, it is the unanimous view of your Committee that now is not the time to begin face to face sessions and that we should continue to postpone meeting at the Barn Hall until such time as there is evidence that this third wave is tailing off. 

We know that this news will come as a disappointment to many of you who, in the knowledge that you are double jabbed, believe that the risks associated with face to face sessions are negligible. We are all missing the social contact which F2F bridge brings and I know that many of you will have been eating out in restaurants, visiting friends, going to the theatre and trying as much as is possible to resume life as we knew it. 

This was not an easy decision for your Committee who debated at length the various options open to us and importantly took into account the views expressed by members from the survey carried out in May.

Your Committee will review the situation again in late August and, with a fair wind, we might feel able to restart face to face sessions during September

Keep safe, Do keep an eye on our website for further updates and let’s hope that we can all be together again before too long.

28 August 2021

Hello again everyone,

Well, this is the email that I have been waiting seventeen months to be able to send but now finally I am delighted to be able to announce that face-to-face bridge will soon be resuming at the Barn Hall.

Our first F2F competition will be held on Thursday 16th September @ 1.15 p.m. We will then continue to meet every Thursday thereafter at the Barn Hall.

Online sessions will continue to be available every Monday with the existing format of twenty boards being retained.

I look forward to seeing some of you very soon.