Camberley Bridge Club – Some Reflections by Andy Lewis (9th Feb 2021)
It was with some surprise that I read the Email from Jerrold Lee asking whether as “probably the person who has been a member of the Club for the longest period of time”, would I like to share with the Committee any memories, stories, facts, etc for posterity.
At first, I thought that he probably had me confused with someone else, but then on reflection, I realised that he was probably right and that this was an invitation not to be refused.
I was only 26 in 1975 when my wife brought to my attention an advert in the local press stating that if anyone was interested in learning how to play bridge then they could come to the Camberley Club where Peter Sinclair and others would be happy to teach them, and if they were good enough, then at the end of the course they would be invited to join.
As it happened I (or rather my wife) had been looking for something to get me out of the house for a couple of evenings a week. I already had an interest in bridge having played a basic version of the game at a works staff canteen during lunch times.
At that time. The Camberley Bridge club was based in one of the members large Victorian house in Gordon Road, Camberley.
Much to my surprise I survived the introduction course and was invited to become a member.
This led to the problem that I did not have a partner, especially one who was prepared to tolerate the many mistakes that I would make as a raw beginner.
Fortunately, a lady called Gladys Hewitson took pity on me and agreed to play as my partner. Unbelievably this led to a long and happy partnership, with no rows, which lasted some 30 years until her retirement from bridge.
This partnership led to us playing together as part of a team, for Camberley club in the Bracknell league. The team was captained by John Warren, who was not only a good team captain but a fine beekeeper who bees produced wonderful honey. Many of the home matches were played at his house in Middle Gordon Road, Camberley
In those days away matches were played in the Bracknell area, at venues like the Met Office, members houses etc. and involved trying to find them at night often in poor weather conditions and without the benefit of Sat Navs! We were often shattered just getting there before playing any bridge!
Soon after my joining, the Camberley Bridge club moved to permanent premises rented from the Camberley Cricket Club. The premises themselves were not wonderful but they were adequate and at least we had a permanent base.
All scoring was carried out manually by one of the members without the aid of a computer which was quite a task to carry out each week especially as the club grew larger.
Florence Lewis, who many of you will remember was Club secretary at the time, rewrote the results in her wonderful copper plate handwriting and these were displayed weekly on the notice board. I remember Florence as being one of the key members of the club for many years.
It was Florence that persuaded me to become Chairman of the Camberley Bridge Club at that time and I was happy to be able to present the Chairman’s Shield currently being awarded as a team’s trophy.
By the time Computer scoring became a reality and eventually moved on- line, Camberley Bridge Club had been offered super new accommodation at the rebuilt Camberley Cricket Club from where it is still based.
I hope to see all my friends at the Camberley Bridge Club in the near future and that Face to Face Bridge will start again as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, I am pleased to still be able to play with many of you on line via BBO and wish you all many happy hours of on- line bridge
All the best