It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of our Club President, Bill Turner on Sunday 13th. September.
Bill was born in the mid 1930s on a remote farm in Mid-Wales and suffered early misfortune when he lost the sight of one eye in an accident when he was fruit picking as a boy during the war. After moving to Llandeilo he met the love of his life, Mair, they married, had two sons, and Bill began a successful career in engineering.
Bill was a keen sportsman, playing cricket and golf, but, despite his eyesight, his real strength was pistol shooting, at which he was good enough to represent Wales. A man of incredible energy and intellectual curiosity, he threw himself into all his interests, such as gardening and photography, with passionate enthusiasm, as those of us who played Bridge with him will readily attest. It is difficult to imagine a keener or more dedicated Bridge player than Bill, and he was playing most days until his final illness.
Bridgend Bridge Club was very important to Bill and we owe him a lot. When the club had to find new premises, he spent much time and effort researching possibilities, before settling on Nolton Church Hall, which has proved an excellent venue. His technical skills were evident in the way he organised the cupboard and mended damaged tables, his commitment to the club, which he served as Chairman for many years, being second to none. He was always singing the praises of Bridgend BC and trying to persuade other Bridge players to give it a try.
Bill ran Bridge classes for several years and produced copious and very well organised notes. Latterly he was generous in his efforts to support and develop less experienced and able players, and those of us who partnered him learned a lot. What was remarkable was that, well into his eighties, Bill was still looking to develop his own game and explore new approaches, sometimes, it has to be said, to the point of complications which were difficult for a man of his age to remember - the fact that he was willing to try, however, shows how focused and competitive he remained right up to the end.
While Bill never reached the heights in international terms he was able to achieve in shooting, he did serve as Chairman of the National selectors for a time, and was a very well known figure on the Welsh Tournament scene for many years - in fact he was probably one of the best known and recognisable figures on the local Bridge scene.
Bill’s phone calls were legendary. If you played with Bill, you could expect a call from him the following morning, and wonder what was wrong if you didn’t hear from him. Even if you hadn’t played with him the night before, you might still get a call to give you a blow by blow account of his exploits, to test how you would have approached a particular problem, or to sympathise with him on his bad luck. We all felt that, inconvenient though these regular calls sometimes proved to be, we would miss them when they stopped, and that has proved to be the case.
While it is often said after people have gone that they will be sorely missed, it is not a cliche in Bill’s case - he was a larger than life character whom we will all miss immensely. The way in which he faced increasing health difficulties, especially those which hampered his enjoyment of Bridge, declining eyesight and hearing, showed what a resilient and courageous character he was. His fearlessness meant that he was not slow to give his opinion and stand his ground, which could lead to “artistic differences” with partners, but, even if you disagreed with Bill, you couldn’t help admiring his spirit, determination and commitment. Wherever he is now, you can be sure he is looking to make up a four for a game of Bridge.