Chair's Report, April 4th 2023
Following the Covid pandemic and its aftermath, face-to-face Club Bridge club in this country really suffered, and the doors of too many clubs closed (3 in the county of Cornwall alone) with others hanging on by a thread. We are lucky to be affiliated with the English Bridge Union, which stepped up with all sorts of resources and continues to do so. And we are also very lucky to have a great membership – read on!
I look back to this time last year, and the Club was lucky to get 3 or more tables for a session, and even the 2022 AGM had to be postponed to ensure we would have a quorum. After Covid, the Club started with an almost clean slate in terms of numbers, and we on the Committee were forced to look at things somewhat differently, rather than “simply” carrying on the work that had been done before by previous Committees. Attendance was so irregular for the first half of 2022 that it was impossible to plan anything. So we had to look instead at what could be done, working with what we had (“Challenge A”) and what needed to be done to change things in the longer term (“Challenge B”)
Challenge A: The first step was to protect our cash resources, moving to smaller rooms, not paying for the kitchen needlessly, and keeping our booking options open to be able to respond to unstable numbers on a weekly basis. Numbers were monitored and partner-finding was actively pursued to try to ensure that no one stayed home who wanted to play. Thank you Steve (Clifton) and Ann Bennett for looking after that. The duplimating machine (on loan to a Barnstaple club pre-Covid) was retrieved and repaired thanks to the ingenuity of Tom Salt – thank you Tom! Suddenly computer-dealt hands for every session meant being able to see the hands and who did what with what and that seemed to generate an interest in improving one’s game (or at least avoiding total embarrassment!). Thank you to all of you who have responded and given (and are still giving) your time to help “improvers” – the list of you is long, the job is endless.
Challenge B: We knew we needed to restore our numbers. We wanted to run some free MiniBridge Taster Sessions in the autumn and to follow that up immediately with a series of lessons, charging only table money to cover the room hire, but budgeting to cover any shortfall. During my time with the Club, this had not occurred before, because understandably our Club’s teachers are usually not able to commit to a lengthy course of lessons. But the Club was extremely lucky to have Bob Bennett step up on this occasion. Thank you Bob! And thank you to Tertia for your efforts to engage the county’s Adult Education Program in supporting our plans, alas to no avail. Thank you to Neil and Chris for running the 3 well-attended MiniBridge sessions. And thank you to Bob and Ann, Mary (Hicks) Tilly and Chris for helping with the mentoring of Bob’s graduates, which so far has produced 3 new members playing in Club sessions (and doing well!) and 6 more working towards that goal. But none of this could have been achieved without the efforts of the whole Club membership circulating promotional material to people they knew – without exception every student came to the lessons through someone they knew at the Club. Well done everybody for making your Committee look like we knew what we were doing!
Word of the success of the MiniBridge sessions must have spread because the Club was invited by the Council to run another MiniBridge session at the Tree Inn in mid-March (thank you Rob Irish for any hand you had in that) – and thank you Chris for leading that session, ably assisted by Rob and me. Amazingly another seven people from that session want to carry on as soon as possible and arrangements are in hand to facilitate that. Thank you to Bob again for being willing to lead that course when it is able to start.
Luckily, numbers of people playing finally started to improve and stabilise from the beginning of the summer. We were also able to welcome 9 new members to our Club in this last year – Rob Waterhouse, Rosemary Kemble, Peter Oldfield, Jeremy and Lynda Roe, Vicky Lucas and most recently 3 of Bob’s graduates: Sue Ovey, Andrew Moss and Stephanie Clark. Because of limited numbers we weren’t able to reintroduce the usual Club Competitions until the beginning of 2023, and still only in a limited way. But the Club was able to participate easily in a number of EBU Sim Pairs Competitions (where our limited numbers are not an issue) congratulations to those who did exceptionally well nationally and as usual we all excelled ourselves by raising lots of money for Children in Need and the Ukraine Appeal. Because the Ukraine Appeal was deemed regulated, the Wednesday afternoon session participated for the first time and got to share the experience of the joy/sorrow of finding out how one did nationally…
As we continue to grow, Club Competitions will remain regularly under review, looking for ways that “fit” with what we have now in terms of numbers and interest. Evidence of change is the fact that many more members than ever before are playing both regular sessions of the Club, which is great as it swells numbers at both sessions, and we all get to know members we’ve not met before and put faces to names. It may well be time for an event outside of the regular Club sessions where the whole membership might wish to participate, and your Committee will look into this in conjunction with keeping the Club Competitions under review. Also there is the desire to have automated scoring on the tables – this was investigated nearly a year ago and put on the back burner as being too expensive in relation to our numbers and members willing to direct sessions with such setups. This too will be kept under review as circumstances, like price and reliability changes.
I am confident that we have survived the Covid Challenge to our existence, but mindful that we mustn’t rest on our laurels. We must always, wherever possible, create an appetite for the playing of Bridge to secure our future as a Club.
Finally, I want to thank my fellow Committee members for putting up with me and my ways these last 18 months, and for their unique contributions to the success we’ve enjoyed so far. Thank you Julia and Tertia for the time you’ve given to get us up and running again, thank you to Linda, Mary and Steve who have decided to see the Club into the next year with me and thank you also to those coming onto the Committee for the first time – Pauline, Peter Oldfield, Rob Waterhouse and Vicki – who didn’t need much or any persuading that to do so would be a very good thing. Their experience in the wider world of Bridge and things generally, and a willingness to learn, will be great assets.
Annual General Meeting of Members
6.30pm on Tuesday 26
th April 2022
The Parkhouse Centre, Bude, Cornwall
Deb DelValle, Chair Nick Akers
Steve Trenner, Treasurer Janet Akers
Julia Hilder Ann Bennett
Mary Hicks Bob Bennett
Geoff Scutt Pete Rosser
Rob Irish Ian Curtis
Mike Newman James Sim
Fiona Hargreaves Sue Kershaw
Mary Hopgood Alison Osborne
Deb welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted that it was a very good turnout in these
difficult circumstances. Apologies were reported from Linda, Neil and Sarah, Micheline and
Stephen, Tertia and Tom, Steve, Chris, Penny and Terry, and Jonathan.
Minutes of the EGM held on 27th
October 2021 (posted on the Club website in advance of this
meeting) were approved. No matters arising from those Minutes were proposed by or notified to
The Chair’s Report (incorporating the Secretary’s Report) having been circulated by email
beforehand was accepted.
The Treasurer’s Report and the Annual Accounts for 2021/2022 having been circulated by email
beforehand were accepted.
Retired Treasurer Stephen Smith was appointed auditor of the accounts for the years 2021-
2022 and 2022-2023 (having indicated to the Treasurer his willingness to so act)
The existing Committee having indicated their willingness to stand for re-election to their present
roles, having been duly nominated as such, and there being no competing nominations, the
following persons were re-elected to the Committee:
Deb DelValle – Chair
Steve Trenner – Treasurer
Committee Members: Linda Ashworth, Mary Hicks, Julia Hilder, Tertia Salt
There being no other business, the meeting was concluded
Chaitrman's Report, April 26th 2022
It’s only been a mere six months since the present Committee was elected at the EGM but with all the unique challenges so far, I feel like saying “what a year!”
Those unique challenges?
Obviously, fewer members returning to play face-to-face Bridge after the succession of Covid lockdowns, meaning constant uncertainty of numbers for running our usual weekly sessions. (Having said that we still have 46 playing members.)
Not long after re-starting, stopping again because of mask-wearing restrictions that further reduced the numbers willing to play down to an unworkable level
Re-re-starting in what soon became a restriction-free society reducing numbers AGAIN this time because of members being affected by Covid and other transmissible illnesses (to which we collectively have lost quite a bit of resistance) coupled with many of us seizing the long-awaited opportunity to reunite with family friends and favoured holiday destinations
All meaning it’s been very hard to plan anything, including the 2022 AGM!
Despite these challenges, all of the Committee members elected in October have agreed to serve again and I thank them wholeheartedly for joining me in responding to the uncertainties of the days ahead. And my thanks to Steve Clifton for stepping up to organise the numbers for Tuesday nights, when it was a slow start for the number of returning regulars.
We may well have not been here now had it not been for Life Member Chris (Churchill) Nichols establishing a “War Cabinet” at the beginning of the Covid lockdowns to keep the membership in touch with and playing each other online for the duration of the restrictions, including weekly online Club sessions. Thank you also to those who served on and helped the “Covid Committee” to see us through that time.
Unfortunately some members weren’t able to get online to play, and so weren’t able to play any Bridge for these last two years, resulting in a loss of confidence to return to face-to-face Bridge, many having found other interests to pursue instead. This has been the greatest tragedy of Covid for our Club: the loss of regular enjoyable contact by and with so many of our longstanding members.
I also wish to note the passing of two of our members in the last year. Alan Merchant-White passed away in the spring of 2021. His joie de vivre and creative approach to bidding will not be forgotten by those who played with or against him. He also endowed the Club with The Jug of Wisdom, which started life as a silly prize for the person who won the poorly-organised individual Bridge event at a Christmas party, and has since become a little more coveted for the right to immortalize one’s words of (Bridge) wisdom (although the event remains as disorganized as ever). More recently the Club lost Dennis Kershaw, a quiet man who was willing to play on noisy Wednesday afternoons - most probably so that Sue could play – by doing so he has joined the short list of supportive spouses who play because their spouses really want to. Thank you Dennis, you were a lovely man.
A warm welcome to new members Pauline Sear, Val Ridding, Janet Akers and Nick Akers. I thank them for the enthusiasm and variety of experience that they each share with us, which can only serve to make us better and stronger.
No members’ Club can survive without this enthusiasm and input. Everyone has something to contribute, and seems to do so without fanfare or expectation of praise, often without being asked but always willingly if asked. I thank you nonetheless for all the things that are done “behind the scenes” to make each session of Bridge happen. I’m not going to name names for fear I might miss someone out, but what you do is noticed (albeit only eventually in some cases) and really really appreciated: setting up to play, collecting the table money, shuffling the cards, preparing the travellers, organizing the tea supplies, and the bikkies, and the stationary supplies, keeping the cupboards tidy, putting stuff away after a session, scoring, directing, sorting the cash, updating the website, liaising with the EBU, organizing special events, helping others improve our skills, the list goes on and on. I don’t know how we’ve managed without Maureen, but we are somehow so it must be because of all those nameless elves behind the scenes. I get a lot of the credit for stepping up as Chair, but what makes things work at our Club is so much bigger than the job I do.
Although I’ve said that it’s very hard for us on the Committee to plan because of all the googlies being chucked at us, one thing that is very much on our minds (largely because it’s on yours) is that of computer-dealt boards and instant scoring. This is currently under investigation, both as to what it costs, how it works and how it must work in our Club. When we have compiled all the information we can, we propose to call an EGM to discuss this single issue, so that we can fully explain what we’ve learned and fully explore people’s views.
Look at that: not even two full pages…maybe because it’s been a short “year”!
Bude Bridge Club
Minutes of the Extraordinary General Meeting of Members held at 2pm on Wednesday 27 th October 2021 in The Parkhouse Centre, Bude, Cornwall
Chris Nichols, Chairman Deb DelValle Sarah Trenaman Geoff Scutt Steve Trenner James Sim Julia Hilder Rob Waterhouse Neil Trenaman Richard Dawson Tim Benson Peter Rosser
Alan Pierce Linda Ashworth Jean Pierce Alison Osborne
Chris Nichols welcomed everyone to the meeting. This had called by his email to all members dated 9 th October 2021 proposing that a new Committee be elected at this
meeting and nominations for all posts were invited.
Debra DelValle’s nomination for Chair being duly proposed and seconded, and there being no other nominations for this position, was elected on a show of hands by all
present. She then took over the Chair of the meeting.
Steve Trenner’s nomination for Treasurer being duly proposed and seconded, and there being no other nominations for this position, was elected on a show of hands by all
The following members’ nominations to the Committee being duly proposed and seconded, and there being no other nominations for Committee, were elected on a show
of hands by all present: Julia Hilder, Mary Hicks, Tertia Salt and Linda Ashworth
Annual General Meeting, April 6th 2021 6 p.m.
Because of COVID restrictions, this year’s AGM was held online by Zoom.
Present: Chris Nichols, Stephen Smith, Micheline Smith, Neil Trenaman, Bob Bennett, Ann Bennett, Penny Abbott, Margaret Swayne, Mary Hicks, James Sim, Tom Salt, Tertia Salt, Linda Ashworth, Steven Clifton, Jane Koldewey, Tilly Peck (16 members)
Bob Bennett hosted the Zoom AGM and welcomed members
Chair’s Report (Chris Nichols)
What a strange year.
In the future, members will look back at 2020/2021 with very mixed emotions – life in lockdown , lack of social interaction, for many a sense of loneliness, even loss – we are deeply saddened at the passing of three of our former members this year, Peggy Cann, George Booth and Kathleen Bence.
Peggy was a founder member of the club, always a delight to play with and with a wicked sense of humour.
George was a true gentleman at the table, always calm and polite.
Kathleen will be remembered for her competitive bidding and always complimenting the opposition on good play.
For many members, there has been little or no competitive bridge for over 12 months and we are desperate to get back to over-the-table play, although this may still be several months away.
For some with the technical know-how, it has meant a move to online bridge – playing on the computer.
We all miss the chance to meet up for a chat, some good-natured banter and a cup of tea, but, on the positive side, it means not having to brave the elements on cold, wet, windy nights and an earlier finish.
We have managed to set up a ‘virtual’ weekly session, usually for just 3 or 4 tables, and the is worked reasonably well (with some technical glitches).
Some members have managed to play socially online, as well as in competitions at other clubs.
Notable amongst these was the success of Steven Clifton and Chris Nichols, winning the prestigious Falmouth Salver in January. The partnership observed strict COVID Social Distancing requirements, sitting 2,268 miles apart!
We are delighted that Alan Biggs has been promoted by the English Bridge Union to the rank of Life Master, the first member of the Club ever to reach this status.
It is also good to note that Christine Theobald has become an Advanced Master and Mary Hopgood a County Master.
My thanks go to all the members who have stood by us, for those who have played whatever the difficulties, and especially to your Emergency Committee who have been available for advice and suggestions throughout the year.
A particular thanks goes to Penny and Terry who have been instrumental in getting the Club Online weekly sessions going.
We look forward with some trepidation to the months ahead, hoping that some sort of normality will return in the not too distant future.
An Extraordinary Meeting would be called once over-the-table bridge recommences, when a new committee would be elected. All three main offices, Chair, Treasurer and Secretary, would be vacant.
Treasurer’s Report (Stephen Smith)
The spreadsheet was presented, showing a balance in hand of just over £2000.
The accounts were accepted , with thanks.
It was agreed that results would continue to be uploaded to the EBU.
Discussion – the Future
A restart date for face-to-face play at the Parkhouse brought varying thoughts, ranging from the end of June, through the beginning of September to the beginning of 2022.
Different platforms for playing bridge online were discussed.
Bridge Club Live is the present platform, with 26 members signed up and paying a membership fee, either as Social members, or as full members, which give access to competitive matches.
Linda and Steven were keen to use Real Bridge, which gives opportunities to see and hear other players, and has a one-off charge each time rather than annual membership. This is used by Truro, Exeter and Cornwall County.
It was agreed that members would research different formats and report back via another Zoom meeting in the next few days.
The Acting Committee were thanked for keeping the Club going during these difficult times.
Meeting closed at 6.45 p.m.
Report by Deb Delvalle, April 2019
This year has seen the sad loss of John Hilder after a lengthy battle with various
health issues. I only knew him as playing on Wednesday afternoons since I
joined 3 ½ years ago, but I believe he and Julia were regular night-time players
sometime before that. We hope to see Julia playing with us again very soon.
We’ve also had a few members not able to renew their membership due to
personal circumstances, but the good news is we are delighted to welcome back
Mary Hicks to the fold. Visitors Tim Benson and Nick Newell have become
members and will be attending regularly as soon as they can make Bude their
regular home. I also wish to welcome Rob Irish, Heather Brewster, Sheila Dailly,
Richard Dawson, and Kirstie & Peter Rosser. Kirstie & Peter come to us from
the group up in Welcombe that were taught Bridge by our very own Chris
Nichols. That group is now assisted by Paul Creighton, so thank you chaps for
the good work there. As you can see, it’s not all bad news. Given the general
decline in Bridge numbers nationally, and that The Sea makes up half of our
circular catchment area, I feel we must temper our expectations of numbers and
revel in our successes.
On the competitive front, Bude has done very well this year. Breaking news is
that Carole Reid has only today been promoted to the rank of One-Star Master.
Well done Carole!
Promotions earlier this year are:
Bill Thomson – National Master
Steven Clifton – Two-Star Master
James Sim – Advanced Master
Sylvia Rogers - County Master
Jean Brookes – District Master and
Ian Curtis – Local Master
I’m sure you’d like to join me in giving them a round of applause
The County “B” team has had Alan Biggs on it twice this year, Bill Thomson
thrice and Rob Mabley 5 times, with the County “C” team being captained by our
Life members Brian and Elaine Relton, Chris and Jane providing player support
Alan and Rob had a really successful set of results in County competitions this
year, winning the Team of Four event and coming second in pairs events on
three separate occasions. Well done to you all!
Just a reminder that the Cornwall County Bridge Congress will again be held at
the Falcon Hotel in Bude in mid-September. It’s expected that the local Club
provides standby pairs in case any competing pairs can’t make any sessions. If
you are not participating as competitors, then I would ask you to consider
volunteering to stand by. It’s free entry if you’re needed, a great opportunity to
experience Bridge being played at such a competitive level. If you’re interested,
please let Chris Nichols know.
One of the rabbit-holes I nearly fell down this last year as Acting Chair was to be
part of an ambitious plan to celebrate our 40 th anniversary (of AGMs) on a
weekend that would have seen some of our competitive players unable to attend
due to outside competition commitments – thanks to Chris for saving us on that –
and we’ve now learned to consult him before making such plans – but my point in
telling this story is that we would welcome onto the Committee any member who
feels they can give voice to the interests of the more competitive element of our
membership, to achieve a greater balance on the Committee.
On the less-overtly competitive front, we have been blessed with great PR in the
form of a lovely letter to the Editor of the December edition of the EBU magazine,
written by a bridge-playing visitor to Bude who enjoyed a warm welcome from our
Club. New retirees to the Bude area and positive word-of-mouth contribute a
significantly to new memberships and I include visitors to Bude in that group
because they all seem to end up retiring here when they can, due to fond
memories of the Bude experience! I feel this is one area we can continue to
work on for the benefit of the Club: facilitating the wish of new retirees (and
indeed anyone else) to get into Bridge or get back into Bridge. Right now, I think
it’s fair to say that our response if approached about basic tuition, refresher or
improver lessons has been somewhat ad hoc, somehow finding a way to
accommodate enquiries but not always as expeditiously as one might hope.
Sometimes this results in missed opportunities to share our knowledge. I hope in
the coming years that we can look at what we can offer as a Club, and become
more pro-active: perhaps work towards having something regular to offer the
public, and then promote it. So that, when someone asks about Bridge lessons
of whatever kind, all of our members will be able to say “yes, we have these
lessons you can take and here’s the details…” A far better response than “Well I
think Neil might be able to teach you but oh! He’s just about to be off on a 3-
month cruise, so who else is there, ummm…Alan Biggs teaches people but it’s
height of the tourist season right now so he’s pretty busy with his business, and
Chris is off doing such-and such –tell you what, I’ll ask Bob when he gets back
from his travels, can’t be long now…” You get my drift. It’s wonderful that we
have so many able people to share the love, but I do feel we need to streamline
this aspect of our activity.
To this end, we perhaps need more of our members to be willing and able to
teach Bridge. I’ve mentioned some of our Club’s teachers - they teach when
they can but you could say that they have earned the right to step back and enjoy
other aspects of their life. We have a wealth of talent in this Club, coming as we
do from so many walks of life, and with lots left in the tank to give. I would invite
anyone with an interest in sharing this great game of ours to consider learning
how to teach Bridge: the EBU is running some Club Teacher Training sessions
in April in Bristol and Exeter – there is free entry available and there may still be
spaces available – if not, we’ll find out when the next sessions run - if you’re
interested, see any committee member to take this further.
It goes without saying that a members’ club is nothing without the contribution of
its members. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your
contributions, big and small, and for making this year run as smoothly as it did.
In particular, for your forebearance and patience with this significantly greenhorn
committee It’s been quite a challenge this year for us all, not only for the half of
our committee that is new to being at the hub of management of an organisation
with traditions, rules and foibles that need to be learned, but also a challenge for
the other half of the committee that had to put up with those of us with L-plates.
I’d like to thank Stephen and Christine who continued ably and without fanfare in
their roles as Treasurer and Secretary respectively, and for their commonsense
approach to the business of the club. Regrettably they have now indicated their
need to retire from these posts – soon! - to devote more of their time to life
outside the Club. So the true expression of our gratitude for their service to our
Club is to find them able replacements, folks. Look at those around you, look
deep inside, for the qualities needed to fill their boots.
Mercifully, I can thank long term members Linda and Maureen for agreeing to
stay on again this year. They do innumerable tasks that keep this Club running
smoothly, which we suspect they would do even if they weren’t on the
Committee, but they have my utmost gratitude for the sage advice, born of great
experience, that they bring to the Committee.
Hilary is not here today to thank her personally, but we are extremely grateful to
her for her forthright contribution to discussion and energetic devotion to the task
of preparing the groundwork for the subsequently-aborted 40 th anniversary
celebrations last year.
To Alison, our newest Club member, I say thank you for your quiet yet very
effective contributions, not least of which is the behind-the-scenes writing of the
regular reports on Club events to the local newspapers, a very underrated task
she took over from Neil – one that puts our club in the minds of every reader of
those papers – free advertising, constant and longterm marketing of our
existence as a Club, and now, more importantly than ever, of this great game
I give special thanks to Chris Nichols for also keeping me on the straight and
narrow with regard to the Club calendar and outside events, and all the myriad
things that go into keeping our members informed and engaged. I don’t know
what I’d have done without you Chris, and I don’t know what we would do without
you. I reiterate that the Club really needs someone on the Committee with an
interest in the competitive side of the Club generally, and in the greater world of
Bridge, to work with Chris and relieve him of some of the multiple tasks he still
undertakes for us (and that he’s willing to give up!) Look around you, dig deep –
could this be you? Or the person sitting next to you? Don’t be shy in asking.
I also want to thank Penny and Terry Abbot for their stellar work this year,
working with Chris, in adding interest to our club website. It all started with Terry
stepping up to score Wednesdays. Then they started adding details of what the
contracts and the lead were (just like you see on the travellers) – a very useful
tool for learning to improve one’s choices when playing Duplicate Bridge. Then
they came up with the idea of posting on the website “an interesting hand” from
the Wednesday sessions, and then Chris started adding his commentary on the
hand. Keeping us engaged and hopefully improving. Thank you guys. I know
you’ll keep up the good work.
I’d now like to talk a bit about what’s been happening in our various regular
sessions and I’ll try to be mercifully brief.
Tuesday nights: a big thank you to all who are willing to direct on Tuesdays,
Chris Nichols (there’s that name again!) Bob Bennett and Stephen Smith on a
regular basis, with Steven Clifton and Neil stepping into the breach when
needed. The Club Calendar in its fairly final form is posted on the website– I say
“fairly final” because you are invited to check it over the next week or so and
make any comments (constructive ones please!) to any committee member
before it goes to press and is printed on the back of our forthcoming annual Club
Two changes of note: I’m sorry to say that North Coast Wines have withdrawn
their sponsorship of our Handicap Pairs events but we thank them for all they
have done for us in the past. The other change is that in the coming year we will
run the Team of 4 Event on Tuesday Sept. 24 th instead of in January as it was felt
that it would be good to have a competition in September for those that won’t be
competing at the Falcon. And an increased possibility of good attendance
through our members not being away on winter breaks! We shall see.
Wednesday afternoons: the results of our Wednesday sessions are now sent off
to the EBU, and Pay-to-Play fees are remitted to the EBU, albeit at a slightly
reduced rate as no Masterpoints are awarded during Wednesday sessions. The
reason for this is because it is intentionally not run strictly in accordance with
EBU-regulations. This reflects the importance to the membership of providing
some form of good quality entry/improver-level play of Duplicate Bridge, and the
wishes of those who attend regularly and enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere of
the sessions. The reduced-rate code that we pay is the EBU’s recognition that
there is a place for such sessions in its affiliated Clubs. I have now almost
completed a second year of Directing the Wednesday sessions, after a fashion! –
and finally, I have recently been on the biggest half of the Directors Course so
that I now have a bit more than a smattering of understanding of what it is I am
supposed to be doing. By doing the course, it is not my intention to achieve
anything other than to improve the quality of the decisions I am asked to make on
Wednesdays, and to provide better quality advice to those who wish to
understand better what the rules are in the most common situations. Hopefully, if
I do this right, we as a group on Wdnesdays will gradually improve the
observance of rules in the sessions without noticing that we are! And incidentally
make us better competitors generally so that we do not embarrass the Club, in
front of visitors or outsiders, with our unintentional missteps. We are all
ambassadors for our Club, walking, talking and playing advertisements of what a
good Club we are.
This leads me on to Fridays. Regrettably, we haven’t had a session since
January. Sorely missed by the regulars I think, self included. Because it is not a
night where our competitive events occur I think that in itself encourages a
broader base of attendees, like myself, even though it is nonetheless an EBU-
regulated session attracting Masterpoints. Ably directed by Neil and Linda on a
regular basis, with Chris (again!) and Steven stepping in whenever needed, for
which I sincerely thank them all. But I think it is generally a bad night of the week
to have a regular session – lots of people have commitments over the weekend,
which impact on their ability to come out on Friday nights, and that is why we are
never going to get the same kind of numbers that we get earlier in the week. The
costliness to the Club of Friday nights has largely disappeared, now that we book
the room on an ad hoc basis when at least 6 pairs have signed up and through
increasing the table money to a realistic level. I believe it can still work, nothing
has really changed to suggest otherwise, but what we do need is a regular from
Tuesday nights to take the signup sheet ‘round to all who are there and invite
signatures. That seems to have worked well enough in the past when someone
does that. Otherwise, people who might have come, forget to sign up. Then, we
might pick up another pair or so on Wednesdays, and I can book the room and
let everyone know it’s game on, as before. So please, can someone from
Tuesday nights volunteer to do this regularly?
I really believe Friday nights is a stepping stone for those wishing to add more
competitive play to their game: we learn (the hard way!) through playing against,
observing, being inspired by and given helpful advice from more experienced
But we must remember is that our members will only ever come out to those
sessions they are willing to, and able to, for whatever reasons, and we have to
respect their decisions. I love this Club because we do have good sessions, well
organized, for a range of levels. We are a better Club for having this variety of
sessions – and for having a membership that gladly and actively support them.
This should stand us well in the future in facing the numbers challenge that all
Bridge clubs have.
We should celebrate our diversity. Speaking for your Committee, we aim to do
this, this coming year with a suitable event where we can put faces to names,
enjoy a convivial atmosphere with some good grub, and oh yes! play a good
game of Bridge together. Maybe this will become an annual event. I hope so.
Many possible bids, but I vote ‘One Club’.
Chairman's Report AGM 2018
This year is the 40th Anniversary of Bude Bridge Club and it has been suggested that we have a social function to celebrate this later in the year, probably in the summer. The committee would welcome suggestions as to the format and possible venue. I am pleased to see that one of our founder members, Linda Ashworth is here tonight. The only other founder member still playing at the club is Mary Hopgood.
This year has seen the sad loss of one of our members, Beryl Mardon who was a Wednesday afternoon regular and it also sad that some of our long standing members are unable to attend through frailty.
I congratulate all our members who have represented Cornwall in the last 12 months. Alan Biggs and Rob Mabley who played regularly for the ‘A’ and ‘B’ Teams and Chris Nichols, Jane Koldewey and Steve Clifton who played for the ‘C’ Team that won the Western Counties League last season, against Somerset, Devon, Dorset, Hereford, Avon, Wiltshire and South Wales.
The Falcon Hotel will once again be the venue for the Cornwall Congress in September and this is an ideal opportunity for members to play more competitive bridge if they wish to do so.
I would like to pay tribute to your committee who have worked tirelessly this year and given a strategic steer to the club. Stephen, our very efficient Treasurer and Maureen who deputises in his absence as well as carrying out various other thankless tasks. Christine who stepped up last year and has been a very effective Secretary. Chris, who manages the club website, sends in the weekly results and monthly report to newspapers when I am on holiday and is always available to assist myself and other members of the committee on any matter. Ann, who runs our partner finding service and acts as a contact point for the club. Deb, who has made a tremendous effort to make Wednesday afternoons successful and last but not least, Linda, who we rely on for her experience and knowledge and takes care of everything that no one else does, including making sure there is always tea and coffee available.
Chris, Ann, and I have decided not to seek re-election this year and I am sure you would like to thank them all for their contribution, not only this year, but also throughout the time they have served on the committee. Chris has served the committee for over 30 years, including three spells as Chairman and has been a director for 32 years which is a massive contribution and it is typical of him that he is still prepared to direct and score, as well as managing the website on our behalf. Ann has been a calming influence on the committee and is still prepared to operate our partner finding service if the new committee wish it. I have been Chairman for 2 years and after several years on the committee have decided to take a break. I am still prepared to direct and score as required. I will also send in the weekly results and monthly report to the newspapers until such time as this task is taken on by someone else from the incoming committee.
A duplicate bridge club would not be able to function without directors and we are fortunate to have had five active directors at Bude during the last year. Chris and Steve, who normally direct on Tuesdays, Deb who now directs on Wednesday afternoons and Linda and myself who direct on Fridays. Steve has decided he no longer wishes to direct and score and I would like to thank him for his contribution. All the directors appreciate the help received by members who arrive early and help set up the tables and tidy up at the end of the session.
I would like to remind you all that apart from the results, our club website has a wealth of other information including a monthly bidding and play problem and news report. The results also feature weekly in the Post and Weekly News and North Devon Journal and a monthly report is included in the sports section of the Post and Weekly News. North Coast Wine have kindly donated 12 bottles of wine for the winners of the monthly heats of the handicap pairs and have agreed to sponsor us for another year provided their advert features in our membership booklet and we continue to give them a mention when reporting the results of the handicap pairs in the newspaper.
Despite the best efforts of the committee to improve attendances, numbers have been disappointing and it was necessary to cancel bridge on some Friday nights because we were unable to muster 3 tables. You all know the new system that has recently been introduced to encourage as many as possible to sign up by Wednesday of each week so that we can book the room for the following Friday. Fortunately there are always sufficient rooms available but it is hoped that attendances will soon improve so that bookings can be made further in advance. Wednesday afternoon bridge continues to attract an average of 5 tables. During the winter months Chris and myself have given some tuition on a subject, sometimes followed by prepared hands and then a shortened duplicate session. We have noticed that the standard of bidding and play has improved considerably during the last 6 months. Some of the Wednesday afternoon regulars have also attended some evening sessions and given a good account of themselves. I have also taught four absolute beginners under the EBU Fast Track Bridge programme so they have some idea how to bid and play, and I am pleased to say that they have now started to take part in the duplicate sessions on Wednesday afternoons.
The present committee all agree that all members of Bude Bridge Club have equal status in accordance with our Constitution and have done everything to encourage as many as possible to attend evening and afternoon sessions and play bridge in a convivial atmosphere at all times.
Every committee needs new blood and fresh ideas and I wish the new committee well. I am sure that any new initiatives to improve attendances would be welcomed. I know that afternoon bridge is not popular with a small minority of members. However, without it, where would beginners, lapsed duplicate players who wish to get back in to friendly competitive bridge and rubber bridge players who wish to try duplicate go? If there was no Wednesday afternoon bridge I suspect that several of the regulars would form their own club and not only would the finances of the club deteriorate but also some of the regulars who have started to coming to evening bridge may feel they are not welcome, decide to no longer attend and attendances would decline further. I would like to see more afternoon players make the step up to evening bridge. Just one or two more tables at evening sessions would enhance our overall enjoyment of this wonderful game of bridge. I want Bude Bridge Club to survive and thrive so that we can celebrate its 50th anniversary in ten years’ time.
Finally, thank you for attending and at the end of the meeting I hope you will all stay and play bridge. Neil Trenaman.
BUDE BRIDGE CLUB A.G.M. Tuesday, 11th April, 2017 Chairman’s Report
Although club membership has increased this year, evening bridge attendances have fallen for various reasons, despite the best efforts of the committee to encourage members to attend.
In contrast, Wednesday afternoon bridge has flourished , thanks largely to the efforts of Stephen and Bob, ably supported by Micheline and Ann. Some Wednesday regulars also attend evening sessions and it is hope that others will be encouraged to come during the coming year. When they do, it is hoped they are made to feel welcome and we all adhere to ‘Best Behaviour at Bridge’
This year has seen the sad loss of on of our founder members, Jean Hemmerle and it is also sad that some of our other long serving members are unable to attend through frailty.
The Falcon Hotel will be the venue for the Cornwall Congress in September this and this is an ideal opportunity for members to play more competitive bridge if they wish to do so.
Alan, Chris and Jane continue to represent Cornwall regularly in County matches and Steve has also partnered Chris when Jane not available and I congratulate them all on this achievement.
Bridge instruction has been available through the club. Bob, Stephen and Chris have taught at the table on Wednesday afternoons, Alan has recently given a series of lessons to Intermediates who wish to improve their bridge and I have taken absolute beginners who have now joined the club
and already attended afternoon and evening sessions.
I would like to pay tribute to your committee who have worked tirelessly this year and and given a strategic steer to the club. Stephen, our very efficient Treasurer and Maureen who deputises in his absence as well as carrying out various other thankless tasks. Chris, who manages the club website, sends in the weekly results and monthly report to newspapers when I am on holiday and is always available to assist myself and other members of the committee on any matter. Ann, who runs our partner finding service and Linda and Christine who carry out other important roles in the club organisation.
Jane and Steve have decided to not put themselves forward for re-election. Jane is a long standing committee member who has been a very efficient Secretary for several years. She has helped me considerably during the last year in my role as Chairman. Christine will be the new Secretary but it is typical of Jane to agree to continue secretarial duties as necessary until Christine has recovered sufficiently from her unpleasant illness. Thanks very much Jane.( Sarah then presented a bouquet to Jane on behalf of the Club)
We will also miss Steve. He has also been on the committee for a number of years and has been Vice Chairman for the last year and together with Stephen, worked hard to put together a comprehensive advertising campaign to try and attract new members.Steve has also been very good at persuading some of our members to attend evening sessions when possibly they hadn’t intended doing so. He has kindly agreed to continue to direct and score regularly. Thanks very much Steve.
A duplicate bridge club would not be able to function without directors and we are fortunate to have six active directors at Bude. Chris and Steve, who normally direct on Tuesdays, Bob and Stephen who mainly look after Wednesday afternoons and Linda and myself who direct on Fridays. They also appreciate the help received by members who arrive early and help set up the tables and tidy up at the end of the session.
I would like to remind you all that apart from the results, our club website has a wealth of other information including a monthly bidding and play problem and news report. The results also feature weekly in the the Post and Weekly News and North Devon Journal and a monthly report is included in the sports section of the Post and Weekly News.
The year ahead may determine whether it is viable to continue with two evening sessions of bridge a week. It is disappointing for those that make the effort to attend and there are only 3 tables. Although it can still be an enjoyable evening the results can often be distorted and I would ask you all to continue to support Tuesday and Friday evenings whenever possible if you wish to see them continue.
Finally, I would like to thank you all for attending and please all stay and play bridge.
Bude Bridge Club AGM 12.4.2016
The membership of the club has remained fairly constant this year, although there has been another reduction in numbers attending on Tuesday evenings. It is sad that we are beginning to lose regular attendance by some of our longest-serving members through frailty.
This year has seen the sad loss of Liz Chapman, who played at the club for many years, and of course Sandra Hayden, who died, far too young, last November.
We are very grateful for the efficient ‘partner’ service run by Ann. Thanks, Ann.
We have also welcomed new members and visitors, often as a result of Neil’s excellent reports in the local paper.
Our Wednesday afternoon sessions have proved a huge success, with 5 tables on average, playing 15-17 boards in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere.
We shall be asking members what the way forward is – do we want 3 sessions a week or should we swap an evening session for an afternoon?
The Cornwall Congress came to Bude last September and looks to becoming a regular feature in the county. Several members played, with Bob and Ann winning the Friday afternoon event. There were also creditable performances from Linda, Alan and Neil and Sarah.
We are fortunate in having members who bring their experience from playing in County and wider events. Alan has regularly represented the County B team and Jane and Chris the County C Team.
Alan and Chris have both had success in County events.
Several of our members also play at other clubs (Barnstaple, Taw Vale, Wadebridge) and gain experience from further afield.
The club web-site continues to develop and is well-visited – nearly 1,000 ‘visitors’ every week.
As well as the twice-weekly update of club results, there is also a monthly news report from Neil; updates from the National Grading Scheme and Masterpoint promotions; and a ‘Problem of the Month’.
I would like to pay tribute to your committee who have given a strategic steer to the club. To Jane, our long-suffering and efficient secretary, to Neil our Vice-Chairman who will be taking over as Chairman, to Stephen as Treasurer and to committee members Ann, Linda, Maureen, Christine and Steven, all of whom take on other roles in the club organization.
We are also grateful to all those members who turn up early to set up, to those who help supply refreshments, and to that gallant band who stay behind to ensure everything is packed away at the end of the evening.
The club could not function without our team of experienced and calm Directors. It is pleasing that Bob and Stephen have agreed to help direct and score, initially on Wednesdays. Please show your appreciation to Linda, Neil, Steven and Chris.
Finally, a huge thank you to ALL the club members who have played with grace, humour, dignity and some competitive edge to make Bude Bridge what it is. If any member ever has any comment or problem – well, that is what the committee is for, so please don't ever hold back on speaking to one of us about it.