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Club Details
Brierfield Bridge Club
2 Clitheroe Rd
Brierfield
BB9 5PT
Telephone 01282 694175
webmaster Peter Banks
 
Brierfield Bridge Club is affiliated to the EBU - number 205268
Membership details

All members are listed on the secure members pages.  Please keep your details up-to-date.

  

 

 

 

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In Memoriam
John Firth

 

JOHN STEWART FIRTH

Born March 7th 1957 at The Bird I’ Th’ Hand Pub, Warland, Todmorden,  (John’s  grandparent’s pub). 

John attended Todmorden Grammar School, then graduated from Nottingham University, later going on to gain a post-graduate certificate in education at Hull University. John was very bright and went on to gain two master’s degrees. He tutored many young people throughout his life, helping them to achieve the grades required for their education. 

John worked at Bury and Burnley Football Clubs in the Commercial Departments. 

When his uncle Leonard Gudgeon retired, John took over the Summit Post Office, Littleborough as sub postmaster . He became affectionately known as “Postie John” by many of the locals. After the Post Office closed he continued to work as relief postmaster in many other offices within a large radius.

He was a regular in the 3 pubs at Summit, would often sing on the karaoke and tell a joke or two. He also ran and participated in the pub quizzes. You would always want John on your team as he held a wealth of information which he could easily recall.

He moved back to Todmorden for many years and was a member of the Bridge End Club and for a time served on the Committee there. 

John was a lifelong supporter of Burnley F.C. He was a member of Walsden Cricket and Bowling Club but his greatest entertainment love was for Laurel & Hardy. He probably knew the plot and dialogue to every one of their films by heart and would make the trip to The Laurel & Hardy Museum in Ulverston as often as possible. 

John was a keen bridge player and was a valuable member of Todmorden Bridge Club where he was a committee member and treasurer and gave his time freely to teach and coach new or less confident players, asking nothing in return other than a mug of tea and a Garibaldi biscuit. He was also a member of Brierfield Bridge Club where he took his turn in directing the tournaments, bringing his own style of fun to the proceedings. 

Another of John’s great interests was cooking and baking. Every Christmas he would bake a huge batch of mince pies and distribute them to all who asked at no charge - even making the mincemeat himself, they are legendary.

Music was important to John and his tastes were varied. His Mother Alice was an accomplished piano player, she often played the piano in the pubs and also having a great sense of fun, would drop in a few wrong notes in the style of Les Dawson, causing much amusement.

John was a unique character with many talents, he had a great sense of fun and mischief and a dry humour. 

He had recently found out via Alexa that National Flapjack Day falls on 7th March each year ( his birthday ) and that amused and pleased him no end - he really loved cherry flapjacks from B&M or Home Bargains. 

A quote from his bridge partner Sue - ‘I feel so proud to have had John as my friend and bridge partner for so many years - he was one of the nicest people I have ever known.’

 

Ashley Rosen

Ashley was born on the 24th March 1940 and grew up in the East End of London

Ashley never really liked school and bunked off regularly but went on to have a varied career from owning a hairdressers to taxi driving to being a casino manager on luxury cruise liners, travelling to many exotic places around the world.

Later he was lucky enough to be taught the game of bridge by his nephew, Neil. Ashley ended up helping to run Neil’s bridge club which he loved doing. Neil would drive to Streatham from Peckham, pick Ashley up and take him to North London where they played. Ashley would repay the favour by preparing wonderful packed lunches for them both. 

It was on a Bridge Club holiday in Skiathos in 2000 that Ashley met Pam. This holiday romance continued on their return to the UK and in 2001 Ashley moved up north to live with Pam. Ashley was not impressed with the weather in Earby and the first things Pam bought him were wellies and a waterproof coat. This did not bode well for a man who loved the sun. She soon found out that his love of walking was not as he professed as she took him up and down the hills exploring the local Lancashire countryside. Despite this both Ashley and Pam considered themselves extremely lucky to have met and fallen in love with each other after so many years of being single. They shared many things in common and their lives together were happy and content.

Ashley and Pam played a lot of bridge over the years at Brierfield Bridge Club, where they were very popular members. They would arrange social events on Saturday evenings where they provided food and Ashley would be the director. They also ran bridge holidays to Turkey, Morocco, France and Italy etc. Ashley liked nothing more than to top up his tan, and eat freshly caught and cooked prawns on the beach. 

Pam and Ashley loved to cook together, a perfect combination as he would take the role of Sous Chef chopping all the veggies and keeping an eye on things. He was also invaluable for reaching all the things that Pam couldn’t reach in the kitchen. They loved to experiment and try different foods from around the world. 

Ashley loved their dogs, Jessie, Charlie and more recently their puppy Cassie. He enjoyed nothing better than sitting on the settee listening to music with a dog beside him. He had a wonderful eclectic taste in music from listening to Blues and Dusty Springfield, to Frank Sinatra, just to name some of his favourites.  He never lost his love for classical music and they loved going to Manchester to have a chinese meal and listen to a live concert. 

Ashley was still doing the things he loved right up until a short time before he died. In fact the day before Ashley went into hospital they went to Brierfield to play bridge and came top which naturally delighted him. 

He died in hospital On Tuesday 8 November 2022 with Pam and close family by his side, and they were able to tell him that they loved him. 

He will be sadly missed.

Lynda Birch

 

Lynda was born 2nd July 1942 - a sister for Geoffrey and Jimmy.

Their father was a self-employed butcher in Nelson and their mother worked part time.

After completing a teacher training course in Liverpool she married Harold and moved to live in Waterfoot, Rossendale. There she taught at the local primary school and was very highly thought of.

She had many interests which she shared with her husband; gardening, bird-watching and cooking.They travelled to different parts of the world and it was on a tour in Spain that Harold died suddenly - a great shock.

Lynda enjoyed walking and completed the 18 miles ‘Round the Hills Walk’ several times. More recently she was a regular walker with the Rossendale Roamers and Burnley Group. She did voluntary work, especially for the Save the Children Fund.

Kind, helpful and thoughtful, with organisational skills to get things done she remained a very active and independent lady and was still a member of the Rossendale Players.

Her enthusiasm for life was remarkable. Always keen to learn new skills, the latest being bridge.

She was playing bridge at Brierfield Bridge Club the day before she died.

Lynda passed away peacefully at Royal Blackburn Hospital on Friday 7th October, aged 80. She will be sadly missed by her family and friends.

And from Julian and Alastair, RIP Mum and say Hi to Dad.

 

Harry Ratford

Harry died on 3 September 22. He had been a member of Brierfield Bridge Club throughout the time it has been in its current home, and had been a long serving trustee.  For many years before the pandemic he and Beryl were the most frequent attenders at the club, playing both in the afternoons and evenings.  Harry took much of the responsibility for scoring in the afternoons and sometimes directed as well.  He was also a very helpful person to have around in the evenings to sort out computer problems, often at work before most people arrived.  Before lockdown he was invaluable in setting up and helping to run the Saturday socials and other events at the club. All this was done very quietly – he just got on with the job.

We understand that he gave the same loyalty and quiet assistance at his church in Read and at Read Cricket Club.

Brierfield Bridge Club owes a great deal to Harry over the past 20 years and it was sad that the pandemic meant that he and Beryl no longer played at the club. We all miss him.

 

My dear aunt Pauline Wimpenny by Bill Hawkyard

Pauline died on 30th August after living in a care home for 12 months.

In 1924 she was born in Huddersfield and lived in the Simonstone & Burnley areas as a child. During the war years Pauline was stationed at Bletchley Park working with the top-secret information which made a big difference to the outcome of the war. The family were immensely proud of her achievements in the war.

Pauline was introduced to Acol in the early sixties and with her then husband Noel went on to take a big part of early development of Huddersfield Bridge Club.

Bridge and the piano were to become a huge part of Pauline’s life and she told me of the very happy times she had on many bridge holidays. 

She taught bridge to literally hundreds of people at Great Harwood, Todmorden and Brierfield, where she was made an honorary life member in 2005.

She partnered John Parry at Brierfield for several years. 

We started to play at Brierfield in 2012 although I would dearly loved to have played with her in her golden years. I do remember when her memory was starting to fail, her saying to me as 4th player and just having trumped my winning 9, “I don’t know what has happened to your bridge Bill, you used to play such a good game”


After her retirement in 1984 she tended her small garden, was a keen artist, enjoying painting holidays and art groups and latterly supporting Andy Murray in any tennis tournament. 

She even dumped our bridge for Wimbledon fortnight.

Her memory started to let her down about six years ago. Alzheimer’s gradually robs people of their existence. She stopped playing in 2018 when her world gradually became smaller and smaller.

Pauline recovered from quite a few downs in life and enjoyed the ups. She definitely lived her life, her way and will be sadly missed.

 

David Luffrum

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of David Luffrum on the 23rd July 2022, in Airedale Hospital.

David became a member of Brierfield Bridge Club in 2016 and offered his services as House Manager in February 2018. He very much enjoyed this role and his contribution has been invaluable having spent inestimable hours working to improve the condition and running of the club. In particular, researching and overseeing the installation of the ventilation system which has played such a major part in the successful reopening of the club after the pandemic.

David was a very popular member, his bridge partners, both online and at the club, commenting that he was a pleasure to play with, always supportive and never ever critical.  His dry sense of humour and frequent witticisms often brightened the day especially online during lockdown. As one member commented ‘he's one of the nicest people I have ever met, if there were more people like him the world would be a better place’, a sentiment echoed by us all.

David’s interests included football and he was particularly pleased when his team, Brentford, were promoted from the Championship in 2021 and finished 13th in their 1st season in the Premier League.

Prior to joining the bridge club David was a keen badminton player, walker and golfer. Unfortunately these activities were curtailed by ill health in recent years but he also enjoyed pottering in his garden and always had a project of some sort on the go whatever the weather. David was clearly quite innovative and able to turn his hand to anything from constructing ramps, repairing outbuildings and greenhouses and constructing fish ponds not to mention a wide variety of repairs at the bridge club. 

David battled with more than his fair share of health issues over recent years. He was an inspiration to everyone, never complained, was always cheerful and positive and dealt with everything with unfailing stoicism.  

He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.

We send our deepest condolences to Brenda and all the family.

 

Diane Hill

 

We were very sad to learn of the death of Diane Hill on 10 June 2022, aged 85.

Diane retired to live in Brierfield from Dublin, where she had held a senior position in the accounts department of a law firm.

She joined Brierfield Bridge Club in October 2000 and was a great presence over the years. A stalwart member, she even played a part in getting our current premises fit for purpose by painting the ladies’ toilets (single handedly!). 

She served as treasurer for some years and she is also fondly remembered for encouraging newly taught beginners by holding lunchtime improver lessons for them at the club.

As well as being an accomplished bridge player, partnering Dorothy Slater for many years, she was a keen artist in watercolours and oils and an avid gardener.

Full of wit and fun, with a mischievous sense of humour, she will be sorely missed by her many friends at the club.

 

Memories of Kath Gradwell by Lynne Grandfield and friends from Nelson Golf Club

 

Kath Gradwell   born 3rd June 1924   died 11th January 2022.

Kath …. Inspirational, indomitable, infuriating, competitive, chirpy, eventually blind as a bat, will be furious she didn’t make 100 …..

She started golfing at Burnley with her husband Alan.  They transferred to Nelson in 1979.  Alan died during her year as Lady Captain in 1990.  So, in 1997 she was Lady Captain again when she could truly enjoy her year.  She continued to play into her late 80s and stopped when she felt she was no longer competitive!!

She regularly played with Pat Oldroyd at Brierfield on Wednesday afternoons, often bidding in such a way as to make sure she played the cards.  She trusted few to play the cards better than her! Often with good cause and, annoyingly, with positive results. In her later years she had to cope with many adversities.  But cope she did.  Without complaint.  Without self pity.

I partnered Kath on Mondays at our Nelson Golf Club bridge sessions to the relief of the other ladies.  We tutted and muttered at each other but always with a laugh.  Laughter, stubbornness, competitive, strange conversation due to defective hearing aids – Kath’s, glasses with spotlights so as to see her scorecards ….. some of the many things I remember with a smile when I think of Kath.

Sadly missed by many friends, she was a proud mother, grandmother and great grandmother.  Our thoughts are with her son Brian and the rest of her supportive family.  Rest in peace Kath.   Keep sparking and save a table for us.

 

Muriel Bainbridge

We are sorry to hear of the death of Muriel Bainbridge, aged 87. Muriel was a member for many years, playing regularly with Susan Fillary, but had not played for some time due to illness.

She died on Friday 19 November in Belvedere Manor Care Home in Colne where she had been cared for since September 2019.

Muriel had many interests apart from bridge, including hill walking, Scottish country dancing and mountaineering.  With her husband Harold they managed to walk up to base camp on Everest many years ago. She was also a keen golfer and was a previous Lady Captain at Whalley Golf Club.

A lovely lady, Muriel was a real character and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Memories of Eric Holden by David Briggs

 

 

It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of Eric Holden. I knew that he was very poorly but his death was still hard to take.

Eric and I first played bridge in the eighties at Blackburn and continued until the closure of Brierfield caused by the pandemic.

He was a very good player who had quite a lot of different partners and was a character and one of the fittest 80 year olds I ever saw before he became ill.

He was interested in most sports but especially football and horse racing and had an incredible memory of results in these fields.

Everyone who knew Eric will miss him but his surviving family his wife Pauline and children have lost a loving head of their family.

R.I.P. Eric

 

Paul Jennings

 

We are very sorry to learn that Paul Jennings has passed away.  Paul has been experiencing increasing ill-health for many years and had become very frail.  He recently suffered a nasty fall from which he never recovered.  He died in Blackburn Royal Infirmary on Thursday 10th June.  He was 79.

In his prime Paul was an excellent bridge player and played frequently at the club for many years, usually at the Tuesday or Thursday evening sessions.  His regular partners were Robin Atkinson, Rick Bentley and Nick Aves.  He represented the club in Fylde League matches playing for the C team on many occasions.  

Paul is survived by his wife Carole, and his children Helen, Jonathan and Richard.  We offer our condolences to them all. 

 

Patricia Reynard

It is with regret that we have learned of the death of Patricia Rosemary Reynard on 29 April 2021. She was 96 years old.

Pat was the last surviving founder member of the Club. She was the Tuesday and Friday evening partner of Dorothy Slater for over two decades and she also played with Margaret Atkinson on Wednesday afternoons for some years.

 

In Memory Of Joan Wheatcroft

It is with great sadness that Joan’s friends and members at Brierfield Bridge Club and Whalley Golf Club let you know that Joan passed away on Thursday 4th March peacefully in her sleep aged 91.

Bridge at Brierfield and Whalley GC in her later years were Joan’s main pleasure in life.  She also played golf at Whalley for many years when she was younger.  Her husband, Freddie, unfortunately died on the course leaving Joan with twin boys aged 3 to bring up on her own.  Her sons, Paul and Mark, now have their own families but special credit must go to them as they have really looked after Joan throughout her life.

Joan was a great character and a strong personality and she will be sadly missed by us all.

John Bugler - A Tribute From John Ashton

I have known John for more than 30 years. I met him through mountain biking and orienteering. Then he was a successful financial advisor and Liberal Councillor in Rochdale. After retirement he took an interest in bridge and I encouraged him to join Brierfield Bridge Club.

Very soon his talents were recognised and he joined the committee as membership secretary and served in this role for several years.

He played regularly on Monday afternoons and established a formidable partnership with Dave Sleight. However the onset of Parkinson's disease meant he could longer make the journey from Rochdale so reluctantly had to give up the game he loved.

His last days were unfortunate. He was detained in hospital with a dislocated hip; there he contracted Covid and never recovered. He was a good friend and a lovely man who will be sorely missed.

RIP John.

Richard Thorpe - A Tribute from Trevor Mayes

It is with great sorrow that I have to inform you that Richard Thorpe passed away in hospital on 11th December aged 90 years.

A former member of the committee for many years and one of the stalwarts of the early years of Brierfield Bridge Club when we moved to Clitheroe Road.

He was a man of many talents from scorer, director as well as the Club’s building guru in those early years.

More or less rebuilding the patio area, knocking down an internal wall and laying hardboard sheets in every room with a little help from a few of his apprentices - George, Alan and myself.

A man of quick wit - on one occasion we were discussing the hosting rota and someone asked if there were any reasons that you could opt out.  Quick as a flash he joked 'if you are pregnant'.

To all of us that knew him he will be greatly missed - he had a true passion for Brierfield Bridge Club

Our thoughts are with Anita and family. 

Rest in peace my dear friend.

Trevor

 

Russell Dent - A Tribute from Brian Irlam

It is with deep regret that I have to report that Russell passed away on the 24th October aged 91 years. He was a longstanding member of the Club and still playing good competetive bridge until a couple of years ago. He assisted the Club in many ways having been past Chairman and a more than competent teacher as well as being a successful player whose name can be seen on a number of the award boards at the Club. I had the pleasure and privilege of partnering Russell for many years. Never did I have a harsh word from him despite on a few occasions the reverse being true. If there was ever a query he would bring me an extract from one of his bridge books and point out, succinctly, the error of my ways.

He was one of life’s gentlemen and will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Thanks for everything Russell. Rest in peace my and many others friend.

Ann Smith

 

We were very sad to learn of the death of Ann Smith, on 15th October, at Pendleside Hospice. 

Ann grew up, with her three brothers and a sister, in the Rossendale Road area of Burnley until her marriage to Jim. She was a much loved and loving wife, mother and grandma. And a dearly loved sister, sister-in-law and auntie as well as a lovely friend to many. She worked with disabled people, first as a domiciliary, visiting people in their homes and helping them with their handicraft projects. She later became the manager at Oakenhead Day Centre in Rawtenstall.  She did voluntary work with Scope, supporting  disabled people and their families.  She arranged outings and social events and was always ready to lend a helping hand and give advice.

Ann learned to play bridge joining friends Norma Parkinson, Pauline Sandiford and Mary Butterworth in Diane Hill’s classes at Brierfield. Ann loved bridge, playing for many years with Norma whilst the Club was open. Ann and Norma also really enjoyed their bridge holidays in St Annes. After lockdown, and despite being ill, she played online whenever she could.

She was a much appreciated member at Brierfield, doing the scoring and helping at social events.

Ann and Jim became keen bowlers, playing at Padiham Bowling Club.  Ann started a Friday night ladies team and they had many laughs together. 

She even found time for painting and was a valued member of a painting group for many years.

A lovely friend who will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

Our thoughts are with Jim and family.