Bookham Afternoon Bridge Club
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AGM 50
AGM 14th October 2019

The Hon. Treasurer's Report AGM 14 October  2019

I have pleasure in presenting the examined accounts for the year to 31st August 2019. Thank you to our examiner Chris Pullan.

I would also like to thank Sue Moss who has been so helpful throughout the year particularly at the beginning when she handed the books over to me.

The accounts show a surplus over the year of 556 pds which has increased our reserves to 4950 pds mainly held in cash at the bank.

The main differences in the year compared to the prior year are as follows:

Increased income 

Mainly due to the annual subscriptions increasing to 15 pds from 10 pds. But our income was reduced by three fewer sessions being played last year – one bank holiday and two sessions in September last year when the hall was closed for the floor to be maintained. Our average table numbers have not reduced from the previous year.

Playing costs decreased 

The tea expenses reduced considerably in the year. Jackie who had been with us for many years left us in October2018.  The committee covered a few sessions and the staff costs of Linda, Sandy and Emma have been lower. There have also been savings on provisions. The next year the spend on tea expenses is expected to be in line with the year before last. This will include an increase in spending on cakes and biscuits.

Equipment costs increased as a new laptop and a cupboard were purchased.

Overheads increased 

This is mainly due to the cost of the Anniversary tea.

Our charitable contributions increased by around 500 pds in the year. We have distributed monies collected for the Village Day, Children in Need, Doris Salver Cup, ECATs and Sims but still have 825pds in the charity fund for distribution. Neil will be speaking about this.

Next year

Going forward into next year we have purchased another Duplimate machine at a very good price. Our equipment has therefore been upgraded over this Anniversary year and puts us in a strong position going forward.

The committee has agreed that table money will remain at 2pds for members and 3pds for visitors. The membership subscription will remain at 15 pds.

Subscriptions become due on 1st November and should be paid within 6 weeks for membership to be retained.

Neil and I will be pleased to receive any subscriptions after this meeting. Payment of subscriptions can also be paid directly into the bank account - details are on the website. Please quote your last name and membership number as reference.

Sue Mc Donald, Hon. Treasurer.

Chairman’s Report AGM 14th October 2019.

It really does not seem a year ago that I agreed to take on the role of Chairman following in the steps of Lawrence, Coral, Brenda, Ann and Jean and the many others who are no longer members. I certainly had some wonderful examples of how to lead the Club and I took to heart the closing words which Lawrence said last year that we have always aimed to maintain the ethos of the club as “a club which continues to be somewhere people want to come because they can to have a good game of bridge, played according to EBU rules in a friendly, non-threatening atmosphere.”. I do believe that together with your very hard working committee that we have achieved this and that as we come to the end of our 50th Anniversary Celebrations we can look forward to many more years of fun and enjoyable bridge here at Bookham. 

However, it would be remiss of me if I did not issue a few words of caution – We continue to be a very popular club and as such we welcome many visitors during the year, some of whom aspire to become members themselves. Obviously we should always welcome new members who share our ethos but unfortunately some do come with certain behaviours. It is vital that this is identified at an early stage and this is where you all have a key role to play. If you identify any behaviour at the table which in any way concerns you then do please bring them immediately to my attention or to any other member of the committee.  The two week period during which an application for membership is posted on the Board is also an opportunity to provide feedback but an early quiet word with someone will usually bring immediate results. So please do not hold back, out of politeness, from sharing your observations.

I hope that you will all agree with me that we have successfully celebrated our 50th Anniversary Year. I was delighted that so many of you were able to attend the Anniversary Tea and bridge afternoon which we held in April. The Committee all worked extremely hard to ensure that it really was a golden occasion which we can all remember with joy. Our special thanks must go to Kate who saved the day by arranging for a replacement cake, at 24 hours’ notice, when our contracted baker suffered a serious accident. If any member has still not received their 50th anniversary golden pen then do let me know. I was delighted by the reaction from members to the awarding of honorary Life Membership to Jean Suckling in recognition of her 50 years continuous membership. Out of interest, because historical membership records are a little hazy, I should be interested to know of any other members who joined our club before 1980.

You should all now be in possession of a voting slip listing the charities nominated for an award from the Anniversary Charity Fund. Please do ensure that you complete this and give it to a member of the committee before play starts today. We will post the names of the three winning charities on our website as soon as counting has finished. The Fund currently stands at £825 but with all profits from The Andrew Robson Event and also the Xmas raffle to be added then we hope to double this. 

Our Anniversary Year comes to an end in December when we will be holding our Andrew Robson Masterclass and also the Celebration Christmas Party. I do hope that as many of you as possible are able to come to both, or at least one, of those events. 

Next Year will be a much quieter one for the Committee but I must at this time thank them for all the support which they have given me during this past year. The smooth running of every session and event is due to the planning and organisational contribution from them all and I have really appreciated the support which they have given me throughout the year. I don’t want to single too many out but I must congratulate Sue MacDonald for the way in which she has so smoothly taken over the role as treasurer from Sue Moss and also thank Sue Moss for her support and knowledge transference which enabled this to happen so seamlessly. To Kate, for her outstanding efficiency in managing the membership records – a task which cannot ever be underestimated - our unending appreciation and also to Miranda and Anneke who are both standing down from the Committee – thank you both for all your contributions.

Our Bridge sessions could not take place without the support from all those who serve on the teams under Sandra’s stewardship. I know that Sandra wishes to highlight this in a moment so at this stage I will just pass on my own thanks to you all.  

But there are also a number of others who make a positive impact to the smooth running of the Club - whether it be helping set up the tables, by pouring tea or by collecting and ordering the boards and table numbers at the end of each session- so to all of you I also extend my thanks.

I should also like to take the opportunity of publicly highlighting the wonderful contribution made by Ron Rutstein who continues to manage our website, keeping it up to date, and often adding topical items and posting a record of all of the events held throughout the year.  For those of you who do not regularly review the website I do encourage you to take a look – you may well be pleasantly surprised.

One of the main challenges which I have faced during this last year has been the tea arrangements. We were so lucky to have had Jacqui White for so long in this position. Sadly our first replacement, Linda, was not able to continue in the role beyond February but I am sure that you will all agree with me that with Sandy and Emma we are now very fortunate. I must repeat again a request made earlier this year – if you have any comments or concerns about the refreshment provision then do please address them to me or a member of the committee and not to Sandy or Emma.

This year we tried something different for Village Week and decided not to have a catered lunch. Increased costs had meant that numbers purchasing tickets were reducing and so we opted for a cream tea alongside the bridge session. This proved very popular with increased numbers attending and greater funds being raised for the Old Barn Hall and the committee will be reflecting favourably upon that outcome when arranging the event for next year.

As Chairman I know that not everything the committee does will be received with universal approval. However, we do at all times try to act in the best interest of the Club. One item which disappointed some members was the decision taken in 2018, following the implementation of GDPR, not to circulate a list of all members with their personal details.  We have been approached and requested that we reverse this decision. When making the original decision the committee followed the advice received from the EBU.   I have reviewed their advice, which was updated in March this year, and that advice is still that Bridge Clubs should not issue a list of individual members. I know that some of you will have experience of other bridge or golf clubs which do provide details, but the EBU does also make it clear that if such a list is issued then members should actively opt-in and that an assumed agreement is implied unless explicitly opting-out is not a process to be followed. Introducing such a burdensome new administrative task is not one which this committee wishes to follow.

However, a possible solution has been identified. Two individuals, not committee members, have offered to maintain a database of individuals who wish to share their own personal contact details with other like-minded individuals who wish to contact each other to arrange to play bridge together. The important thing here is that this is not generated from the Club database and hence there can be no GDPR liability.

The Committee has agreed that application forms, which we understand will clearly explain how the information will be shared, will be made available on the table at the side of the Hall. 

Finally, some fresh news for you - the Committee has recently decided to purchase an additional Duplimate machine to replace the existing back-up machine. This new machine was used at the recent World Championships in Japan and comes with a full five year warranty but came at a net cost of just over half the cost of a new replacement machine. Fittingly, as we come to the end of this 50th Anniversary Year this purchase will mean that the Club is superbly resourced for many years to come. We will have two reliable machines which can be used in tandem with each other providing continuity of delivery in all circumstances so we can look forward to the next 50 years of playing in a friendly, non-threatening atmosphere with renewed confidence. 

Thank you

Neil Higgins, Chairman.

Hon. Secretary's Report AGM 14 Oct 2019

NEW MEMBERS SINCE AGM 2018: Total – 22

Angela Paterson, Roger Whittaker, Gillian Davis, Roger Harrison, Fiona Corben, Susan Tavner, Judy Baker, Mireille Fiander, Janet Baker, Michael Brown, Jacqueline Cokayne, Pat Rees, George Romanowski, Val Busby, Janice May, Sarah Patel, Rodney Turner, Richard Arnatt, Paul Mullarkey, Jenny Carlier, Malcolm Frost and Pauline Norman.

One Honorary member – Jean Suckling

It is always sad to have to report the loss of a member and so it was when Chris Argent passed away after a long illness. He will be remembered as a very loyal and supportive member who served us well both as a director and a scorer until poor health obliged him to relinquish those duties. He did however continue to play here until just a few weeks before his death. We are so glad that Joyce has continued to attend and we hope that she gains pleasure from her bridge with us.

The ten members who have resigned over the past year have done so mainly through removal or health issues. Without exception they have expressed sadness at giving up their membership and appreciation for all the club offers as a friendly and welcoming venue.

I am also sad to report that a number of longstanding and very loyal members are currently in rather poor health. I know that we all send our best wishes to them and in that respect I have continued the club policy of sending a card with a message of good wishes when we have been informed of cases of serious illness and try to keep in touch by phone on a regular basis.

A membership base which is continually refreshed is a sign of a healthy club situation. We have welcomed 22 new members this year, compared with 17 last year. It is a great pleasure to have them all with us and we very much hope they enjoy their membership of the club.

Currently we have six people on the waiting list whose membership applications have been approved, with eleven visitors going through the application process.

I wish to thank other members of the Committee for their help in ensuring that the Duty Rota works efficiently and also those of you who come early to help set up for the afternoon. Equally, a number of you assist with putting equipment away at the end of the session. I know it is appreciated by all committee members. 

Many members and visitors have commented on the friendly nature of the club and the enjoyment they gain from playing here. We have a superb venue and the fact that we can provide twice-weekly sessions throughout the year is due in great part to unstinting commitment by your Chairman and committee and the willingness of members to be involved. 

Thank you.

Kate Castree, Hon. Secretary.

 Coordinator of Directors and Scorers' Report  AGM  14 Oct 2019

There would be no duplicate bridge without our wonderful team of directors and scorers who arrive early and leave late to organise and score in a large club with 2 sections each often with ten or more tables.

As directors, before the  session starts we often have to make ourselves unpopular by asking people to move sections or to sit N/S when they would rather sit E/W. During the play we are called to a table to sort out a problem and make a ruling, which may include easing any tension caused by the infraction.

At Bookham we really try to get it right, we arranged EBU training and follow up on the new laws brought in in 2017.  Again in August this year Coral and I ran a Workshop on 2 days which enabled all of our directors to attend. It was an opportunity to share issues and difficult rulings we have had to make. Neil came to one of them and as you will have seen at the recent club sessions. has been sharing with you some of the points we discussed. A special thank you to Coral for organising the workshop with me and the good news is she will do so again next year.

Thank you to the scorers.  The new laptop has made life easier and being able to make corrections to names and scores directly on the Bridgemates is a big bonus. The only big problem this year was when Bridgewebs went down for more than a week, which was completely out of our control.

My plea to all, is to make sure you check that the correct score is entered into the Bridgemate. If in doubt, ask the scorer to erase the result for you so that you can enter it again.

Following my discussions with other clubs, I have decided for the present to continue with Scorebridge rather than switch to EBUscore.

Duplicating the boards

The duplicating of the boards at the club is now established and I am pleased to announce more volunteers have come forward. We are nearer our aim to having enough teams to enable just one session per month for each team.

Thanks to a new piece of kit - “the magic blower”, we have been able to keep the machine dust free and it has been working more efficiently. You have just heard from Neil about the great deal we have made for another machine which will provide the backup we need for a club which needs 132 boards per week.

So after 50 years, we look forward to playing more bridge and say thank you again to the directors, scorers and “duplimators”  who make this possible. 

Sandra Cape, Coordinator of Directors and Scorers.