The article below was supplied by James Paul, who attended Sonning Common Primary School in Oxfordshire, followed by Reading School in Berkshire. Both schools now run bridge clubs.
James' parents are now learning to play bridge.
I first learned to play cards when I was around 5 years old, as a close friend of my Dad, was a Bridge player of many years. Due to a shared inability to hold all 13 cards at once, my younger sister and I were instead taught knock-out whist and rummy as these only required the ability to hold 7. Although I continued to play these and other simpler card games whilst at home, it was not until I was 13 that I learned to play Bridge at the school club on the recommendation of my maths teacher.
After playing at school for a few years and attending the annual junior teach-in at Loughborough University, three friends and I decided to appoint ourselves the school's bridge team and enter the Schools' Cup. We went in with extremely low expectations but ended up coming third and being invited to join the England U20 squad.
I trained with the squad for a year before I was selected for my first appearance for the England Team itself at the U20 Channel Trophy(contested between England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium) in Utrecht. We ended up winning, marking England's first win in several years. The greatest moment in my bridge 'career' came a few years later, when i was part of the England team that won the silver medal at the World Championships in Philadelphia, USA, after an exciting late comeback against the Dutch team in the semis.
Playing bridge has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world: I have travelled to Croatia, Belgium, Poland, Denmark, the US, Romania and many other countries. i have also had the chance to represent my university on several occasions. The game has given me a wide selection of great experiences, and I hope to continue having more of them in the future.