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2021 Chairperson's Report
Agenda AGM 26 July 2021

AGM – Crowborough Bridge Club – Agenda

Monday 26 July 2021 –  7pm

  1. Apologies for Absence
  2. Approval of Minutes AGM 2020  available to view on the website
  3. Treasurer’s report and adoption of the statement of account  which will be available to view via the website
  4. The Committee proposes that Member Subscriptions should be £20 for the forthcoming year
  5. The Committee proposes that table money and guest fees should remain unaltered
  6. Election of Committee members
  1. Chairperson
  2. Committee Member
  1. Discussion as to the future of the Club
  2. AOB
Minutes AGM 2020

AGM Crowborough Bridge Club - Monday 27th July


  1. Apologies for Absence

Steve Dennison, Lynn McCormack, Pamela Rich, Anne Thorpe, Patsy Tarbuck,

Alan Sills, Sylvia Hall, Joan Webber,

  1. Introduction by  Chairperson

Linda welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for coming.  She went on to explain how the arrangements for the AGM, (e.g. website and proxy voting), had been made in order that all members are able to be involved.  She said that all members also had an opportunity to express their views on the website in a club decision.  Linda added that if we had arranged a virtual AGM members would have been asked to download and then to have sufficient confidence to speak and follow the different protocols for voting.  This would possibly have been stressful and not something suitable for an important meeting like this one. The message forum on the website allowed members to express their opinions and feeling to be taken into account and not just those of the members present today.

Linda then went on to give examples of the different risks that many of us will have had to cope with during our lives where we had to make a decision for ourselves but  felt we would not be able to determine risk for others.  She then addressed the Covid situation and how this could impact on people particularly those living in isolation. 

  1. Approval of Minutes AGM 2019

There were no issues with the Minutes 2019 at the meeting or proxy voting and they were therefore adopted.

  1. Treasurer’s report and adoption of the statement of account

Richard explained that the club is in a good financial position with a ‘cushion’ of just over £12,000.  We also have a credit of £800 with the Community Centre.   Although table money is down a little, the bridge lessons had brought an additional £900.  Linda added here that it was a big disappointment that these had to be stopped due to the lockdown.  

      The Treasurer’s report was unanimously accepted at the meeting with no proxy objections. 

  1. Election of Committee members:

Richard Penticost was duly re-elected as Treasurer by the meeting with no proxy objections or alternatives.

Steve Dennison was duly re-electred as a Committee member by the meeting with no proxy objections or alternatives.

  1. Presentation of cups:

Linda gave details of the cups to be presented as follows:

Best master points Monday evening sessions – Richard Clark

Best master points Thursday sessions – Chris Sandford

Best master points Friday evening sessions – Jean Smallwood

Best percentage improvement – Lyn McCormack

Chris Sandford received his award at the meeting and Linda will present the remainder of the cups to the relevant individuals.

  1. Issues for members’ discussion and vote:

(a)  The committee’s proposal that subscriptions for the year 2020/2121 should be £20 with table money unaltered was carried by the meeting and proxy voting.

(b)  The amended club constitution and rules as published on the website were passed by the meeting and proxy voting, (20-0), with no objections.  Linda explained that Richard and Sue had worked on these as they were rather ambiguous in some areas. Richard added here that two of the changes related to problems experienced by Tunbridge Wells Bridge Club whereby they had been taken to court in a situation relating to unsavoury conflict with a member. We therefore needed to ensure that our rules had appropriate measures to prevent a similar situation arising.

(c)  Linda explained that the proposal from Ian Higgins and seconded by Caroline Poole regarding remaining with the Community Centre was not an issue as at the present time there is no alternative for the club other than to remain with this venue.  Linda explained that this did not mean that the committee would not consider other alternatives to be brought to an AGM or EGM.  The meeting agreed that the club would therefor remain at the community centre with proxy voting 20-0. 

(d)  The meeting voted that the Friday afternoon sessions which had not proved to be popular would cease with proxy voting 20-0.  Linda said this would be for a trial period. 

(e)  The meeting voted in favour of a Tuesday afternoon session if this becomes possible at the Community Centre with proxy voting in favour 28-0.

(f)   Regarding Friday evening sessions and the proposal from the Committee that these should cease counter proposed by Ian Higgins and Caroline Poole, Linda reiterated the arguments listed in the Chairperson’s report in relation to the agreed trial period, albeit cut short, and lack of numbers on these evenings.  The meeting voted that the Friday evening sessions should cease with proxy voting in favour 16-3 a total of 27 for and 5 against..

Lesley C reflected upon when she first joined the club there was a similar problem in relation to lack of attendance on Thursday afternoons and although Friday evenings should now cease as they are not practicable, this may change and we should review this in a year.  Chris S added that Tunbridge Wells are also now struggling with numbers on Friday evenings and Richard P said we should keep our options open.

 Nick L added that although he has been ‘a lover of Fridays’ he felt that the Committee had considered at length and gone into due process and vet analogy to make a fair and unavoidable decision.  He added that the Friday evenings had always been a platform for learning and improving and asked if there had been any thought given to how middling players could encourage eager players to improve. He also asked whether Tunbridge Wells Bridge Club would welcome Crowborough players and if this could be negotiated.

 Linda explained in reply that whilst teaching the sessions allowed for two week breaks when the new learners could be supported by members as gurus not only to help with practice but also to integrate them into the club. She added that she felt this decision was very sad but was also certain it was the right decision.

  1. Chairperson’s address:

Linda then gave a resume of the addition to Chairperson’s report 2020 which has been entered onto the website for all members to read and be made aware of the necessary health and safety adherence measures that are being taken to ensure the continuation of Crowborough Bridge Club. She said she is desperately trying to get across the seriousness of the situation for our club.

In response to an ebu communication regarding the size of bridge tables, the meeting were shown the extended table tops that are being prepared in order for ‘Social Distancing’ to be adhered to at our club.  Linda explained that the Community Centre have not yet fully opened for bookings and explained some of requirements that have been put in place for Covid protection including gloves, hand-washing and use of our equipment.   As a club we would not be going to organise on-line sessions and these are available for members with both Cross in Hand and Tunbridge Wells clubs.  Also members who still feel the need to isolate will be able to form their own ‘bubbles’ if they do not feel able to return at the moment.

Lesley C raised the issue of potential damage to the skin of hands if gloves are worn for 3 hours and it was suggested that at a certain stage during a session, all gloves would need to be changed in order to prevent this.  There would also possibly be a set ‘refreshment time’ in order to prevent unnecessary movement around during the session.

Questions were raised regarding toilets, use of mugs, bidding boxes and need to keep possessions and clothes separated.  Linda explained that the Community Centre have completed a risk assessment to address many of the necessary issues. The question of payment for sessions was discussed and it was decided that a system of tickets that could be bought and exchanged for sessions was thought to be the best idea and will be organised.

The meeting was asked with a show of hands how many would return to play at the moment and all present felt they would be prepared to do this.  Linda talked of the effect of fear on people and also how the eventual opening of our club would impact on others.  

Sue C said we would need to undertake a risk assessment and Moira explained how this had been undertaken at the golf club.  Margaret asked if tables would be limited and Sue C suggested that perhaps we would be able to hire the large hall for the Thursday afternoons.     Moira added that the golf club checks everyone  in for the track and trace system and Linda added that this would be via the Bridgemates.

It was suggested by Lesley C that if tables are limited then a booking system be arranged in order that we can ensure we do not exceed numbers for social distancing.

  1. AOB

The ebu and their formal approval for our return to play was raised.  Richard said we would need to check on our insurance liability.  Nick L added that the ebu may not wish to take on any responsibility and therefore we should not seek their formal approval and he strongly agrees that it is important for us to get back to playing.  He added his congratulations for the thought and processes which had been put in place.

Linda addressed questions regarding the cleaning arrangements that will be undertaken          by the centre staff and the possibility that we will be able to book from September.

The meeting closed at 8pm.

2021 Chairperson's Report

Chairperson’s Report – Crowborough Bridge Club – 2021

This has been a difficult year for the whole country, and the future is still uncertain. Many of our members have spent long periods with little or no social contact. The vaccination programme and the gradual easing of government restrictions have been a light at the end of the tunnel for many of us. When the first lockdown happened in March of last year I don’t think any of us understood how long it would take to return to any sort of normality, nor how much that normality would change.

Financially the Club is in a good position. We have a healthy bank balance which can cushion us for a while if our numbers playing remain low. Not having asked for subscriptions last year it isn’t clear how many of our members will be carrying on. Some have informed us they have decided to stop playing, but there will be more we don’t know about. Since 17 May we have been able to hold Face2Face sessions at the Community Centre, but they haven’t been well supported. We’re playing with refreshments, with the larger table tops, without masks, and when we have 3 or more tables we can do a Howell movement. As there is further easing we hope numbers will improve. But, understandably, after over a year of constant alarm and statistics designed to ensure compliance, it may be difficult for members to dip their toes in the water and venture out into public space to play bridge. We can use our reserves to support us, but we may be looking at slowly using them up and the Club then folding. The next 6 months will be critical and I would urge members to try to overcome any reservations they have about Face2Face. Our vaccinations almost completely remove the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation, or death. We live in a very low risk area.

I, myself, and 2 other Committee members are standing down at the AGM. We will need nominations for Chairperson, and Committee members. We also need help with the general running of the Club, directing, scoring in particular. It is our intention to restart lessons at some stage, and Sue Clark, who has been on the EBU training course and who will be organising them, will need volunteers to support her. It would be good to consider setting up an extra afternoon session. Everything hinges on whether or not the Club is going to survive.

I would like to thank Fran Fisher and Chris Sandford on behalf of all members for their contributions to the Committee as they stand down. Fran has managed our catering brilliantly, and Chris has done wonders with the website, making it more accessible to those of us who are not IT proficient, getting us to comply with Data Protection and keeping us up to date.

I have found the issues around Covid very stressful. The constant messages designed to foster fear, and their effect on those around me, have been very wearing. The knock on effect has overshadowed the achievements of the past few years and I no longer feel that I have either the energy or the enthusiasm to continue in the role. As Nick before me, I will continue to support the Club from the sidelines.

The AGM will take place on Monday 26 July at 7pm at the Community Centre. The Agenda is published below. Any AOB and nominations for Chairperson and Committee members should reach me by 5th July please.

Linda Reed


June 2021