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In 1951 when Farnborough Bridge Club was born George VI was King and in the Autumn of that year Winston Churchill was re-elected Prime Minister, now fifty years later here we are at his lovely home celebrating our club's golden anniversary.
The original venue was the function room at the 'Black Horse' in Locksbottom. The dozen or so founder members played mainly rubber-bridge. We do not have any founder members here today. However, I can tell you that Bert West and Dennis Kendall joined in 1958, as young men of course!
I'm sure that over the years the club has changed in many ways, I know that each of you will have special memories of times and people, here are a few that are perhaps worthy of note.
During the three-day week in the early seventies, electricity cuts were frequent. The Bridge club, now in the village hall was able to continue unaffected thanks to the gas lights that were still operational although somewhat smelly and unreliable! Farnborough did not affiliate to the EBU or award Master Points until 1970 just before Ted Nesom became Secretary.
At a committee meeting in 1970 the founder Secretary, Leslie Smith, amused us by announcing that he had found a 'fresh young Secretary' to succeed him. They didn't come any fresher than Ted!
Until the mid 1970's we played rubber bridge on Friday nights (partner and cut in). One of the longest committee meetings Mike de Winter attended was due to discussion on whether we should raise the stakes from 1d per 100 to 2d per 100. Shortly afrer this rubber bridge was abandoned in favour of duplicate.
An early attempt at the Rayner Individual was abandoned halfway through the evening when David Bum (directing) found a misprint in the written movement instructions. Kit Wilson (a dour rubber bridge player) had played the same hand three times in succession, but hadn't queried this as she explained to David, she had a different partner each time! One of the early stalwart partnerships was Bert West and John White. They always played East/West, and Elizabeth de Winter could only remember which was which as West played East and White played West.
During Phil Bailey's formative years as Match Captain, Farnborough often struggled in Corbett Cup matches. In one particular match only the two Jims (Kemp and Gillard) were playing to their potential. With eight boards to go Gillard asked Phil where he should play. 'At all four tables please' was Phil's enigmatic reply.
The occasion when Barbara Howarth playing against Derek Patterson in 1NT redoubled decided on a passive defence and thirteen cards hit the deck together thus creating thirteen penalty cards.
Phil Brayton calling Ted with - 'Director! My partner's just doubled my bid'. I won't mention who his partner was at the time!
My own moment of acute embarrassment. Graham Russell had lost a card and was standing up looking around for it on the floor, from where I was sitting I could see the card and called across the room. 'What's that in your trousers?' - much to everyone's amusement. The card - was caught in his tum-ups!
Bridge is a wonderful game it doesn't matter if you're 19 or 90, male or female. Grand Master or Club Master we can still enjoy each others company across the bridge table and I think that we are extremely fortunate to belong to a club like Farnborough.
Whatever else may change I hope that our tradition of welcoming visitors and new members - the friendly social atmosphere of club nights and the frequent laughter will remain a characteristic of our club.
Personally, the friendships I have forged since becoming a member of this club are very important to me and Moya has said on more than one occasion, 'What would I have done without the support of all our friends at Farnborough Bridge Club?' Ladies and Gentlemen will you charge your glasses and drink a toast with me to Farnborough Bridge Club and the next fifty years.
17th November 2001
View Phil's Hands
Photo Album created by Liz Blande
Click here to download
11am - Arrival at Chartwell. The Party Begins...
Tony Conway, Jan Johnson and Mike de Winter
Bert West and Dennis Kendall
Denis Russel & Elizabeth McKeone
Liz Blande & Mike Rafferty
Yvonne & Tony Chalkley
Len & June Curtis
Trish Dean & Petra jackson
Don & Glenda Gibb
Marjorie Woodhouse & Bob Bruty
Henry Greenberg, Ann & Don Mitchell
Oscar & Jane Lines, John Davy
Kerry McDonald & Ron Ellwood
Jenny Jakes, Bill Marle, Beryl Nightingale
Phil Bailey, Barbara & Mark Howarth
Norman Gunn & Jean Brayton
Peter & Alison Burt
Brad featherman & Marian Hunt
Jim Maloney & Alan Smith
Beryl & Frank Clinton
Patrick Ryan & Pat Cockett
Harry & Gwenda Evans
Jackie & Neil Wotherspoon
Tony & Julia Price
Wendy & Gordon Lane
David & Jo Lightfoot
Mary Williams & Bob Kendall
Chris & Sue Morgan
Elaine & Doug Johnstone
Ann Gray, Myrtle Keane
Elaine Wilmot & John Condon
Adrian Lis & Pauline Parker
Hilary & David Powell
Farnborough Hands - A Personal Selection Prize Winners
Mark Howarth & Derek Patterson
Bob Bruty & Marjorie Woodhouse
Jane Lines & Len Curtis
1st Prize - North/South - Phil Bailey and Barbara Howarth
1st Prize - East/West - Liz Blande & Mike Rafferty
2nd Prize - North/South - Henry Greenberg & Tony Conway
2nd Prize - East/West - Mary Williams & Dennis Kendall
3rd Prize - North/South - Marjorie Woodhouse & Bob Bruty
3rd Prize - East/West - Mark Howarth & Derek Patterson
"Now what would Derek bid with this!"
"I'm not sure I understand my partner's bid!"
Eat, Drink and Celebrate
Cutting the Cake
Barbara Howarth, Mike de Winter, Marian Hunt
Pauline Parker & Adrian Lis, Hilary & David Powell
Elaine & Doug Johnstone, Mary Williams & Bob Kendall
Ron Ellwood & Kerry McDonald, Norman GUnn & Jean Brayton
Beryl & Frank Clinton, Petra Jackson & Vernon Hughes, Trish Dean
June Curtis, Jane Lines, Len Curtis, Dennis Kendall
Don & Ann Mitchell, John Davy, Bill Marle, Oscar Lines
Alan Smith, Jim Maloney, Elaine Wilmot, John Condon
Beryl Nightingale, Jenny Jakes, Bert West Peter & Alison Burt
Bob Bruty & Marjorie Woodhouse, Harry & Gwenda Evans
Tony Conway, neil & Jackie Wotherspoon, Don & Glenda Gibb
Wendy Lane, David & Jenny Kerr, Gordon Lane, Marian Hunt
Brad Featherman, Pat Cockett, Henry Greenberg, Patrick Ryan
Jo Lightfoot, Derek Patterson, Barbara Howarth, David Lightfoot
Sue Morgan, Mark Howarth, Chris Morgan, Jan Johnson
Rose Mehan, Ann Gray, Denis Russel, Elizabeth McKeone
Liz Blande, Mike Rafferty, Yvonne & Tony Chalkley, Myrtle Keane
The National Trust property of Chartwell (Sir Winston Churchill's former home), hosted one of its more unusual gatherings in November.
Around 80 members of Farnborough (Kent) Bridge Club spent the day celebrating the Club's 50th birthday. Some of us had already had earlier practice in celebrating 50th birthdays but not, I suggest, on this scale. Regrettably, no founder members were present although we did have a couple of stalwarts who joined in the 1950's and were there strutting their Bridge stuff to great effect.
The day commenced at 11 a.m. with mulled wine before a 'fan' session of pre-dealt boards culled from Phil Bailey's collection of Farnborough hands over the years. Some of the results, although hilarious first time round, were even more hilarious when presented again and unrecognised.
The opening leader against seven no trumps duly cashed the first twelve tricks (a 12 card spade suit missing the nine!) but hadn't doubled as the auction was so raucous she did not realise she was on lead. It was agreed that declarer's carding reading was top class in keeping the right card at trick 13. For myself, another hand saw me scoring plus 50 for defending a part score on a hand I played 10 years ago and bid a making slam.
Although we like to think that some of our members can actually play this fiendish game (we did win the Garden Cities competition this year), we aim to be a friendly club and humour is never very far away. Our Chairman, Marian Hunt, recalled one of her biggest embarrassments when an opposition player dropped a card which seemed then to disappear into thin air. It was actually lodged in his trouser turn up, but Marian's way of drawing attention to this was to exclaim "What's that in your trousers? " Cessation of play all round the room.
A buffet lunch was followed by a 'proper' pairs competition in the afternoon and a gala dinner at night. Needless to say, bars were open all day and there was even a 24 person individual for the die-hards last thing at night.
Our thanks to everyone at Chartwell for their superb service throughout the day. Time now to take it easy for ten years before we hit the 'Sexy Sixtieth'.