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On 1st October 2011 we celebrated 60th anniversary of the club. The venue was comfortable surroundings of Chislehurst Golf Club.
Good evening everyone. Welcome to our “Sexy Sixtieth Anniversary” - not my words - I am quoting Mark, looking forward, when writing about our 50th Anniversary celebrations 10 years ago! It seems only yesterday.
Farnborough Bridge Club started in 1951 as a Rubber Bridge Club in the Black Horse in Locksbottom with a breakaway group playing Duplicate at the Candy Café opposite. They joined forces at Farnborough Village Hall the next year.
By the mid 1960's whilst Duplicate was flourishing, Rubber was notably in decline. In 1967 a review of the Constitution was undertaken and we became roughly what we are today. Visit our wonderful website to read more!
The Club certainly inspires loyalty. Naturally, nobody here can remember those beginnings. However, if anyone wants to know more about what went on they can access the archives, the minutes of every AGM and every Committee meeting held since the club's inception stored by Barbara in our archives.
They make fascinating reading as so many of those mentioned there have given long service to the Club and are still members. Other names that pop up are familiar to us all, as well established club competitions.
What other club can boast such a record of continuity?
Being a relatively newcomer I struggled a little to write an appropriate speech for this auspicious occasion. I am indebted to Bob Kendall who came to the rescue with the following recollections and comments about our club and would like to read you what he says.
"I suspect I am the most senior member currently on Farnborough's books: about 48 years ago I would turn up, almost in short trousers, and partner either my dad Dennis or John White. Steve would join soon afterwards, 48 years of one's life - help!
And what's more astonishing is that I still come. My bridge is sadly no better, but the memories I have of the Club will stay with me. And with me as for so many of you who have gathered for this special occasion today, it is a genuine club made of people who have become friends.
So why is Farnborough special? It has produced more than its fair share of top class players over the years, and the Honours board reads well. I note that of England's 12 players in the Camrose trophy this year, allowing for Norman who played twice, 5 are current or past Farnborough players. Not bad!
Yet truth to tell the quality is not what makes this Club. I find it refreshing that over the years highly talented bridge players have been able to blend with average and lower performers most happily. No doubt the odd word is spoken under the breath about the luck some of us enjoy from time to time, but the mutual respect for opponents at the table as people and friends is to me the real feature of Farnborough Bridge Club. Please may it continue.
The Club has been blessed with its leaders, Leslie Smith was a complex, driven man. Ted by contrast ruled with diplomacy and a smile. The Club will never know the debt it owes particularly to Ted and Mike for their sterling work over so many years. And there are many others who have served the Club and us, the members, so faithfully and assiduously: Thank You!
I am sorry not to be with you on this lovely occasion; may today and the future of Farnborough Bridge Club for the next 60 years, be indeed rosy."
Thank you very much Bob. We certainly have missed you today.
The other day I overheard a conversation between one of our Grand Masters and a new member at tea time. “Are you planning any holidays this year?” asks the GM. “We are going to Benidorm” replied the new member “on a bridge holiday. And you?”
“Oh I am going to the Sea of Galilee” said the Grand Master. Quick as a flash came the reply
“Would that be a walking holiday then?”
Thank you Phil for organising today’s quick bridge trip down memory lane. You have given us a taste of the more social, but equally cut throat, rubber bridge, which the Club used to play; the Christmas Party’s riotous individual movement, through to the competitive pairs and teams loved by everyone.
Ladies and Gentlemen will you charge your glasses and drink a toast, with me, to Farnborough Bridge Club.
1st October 2011
Ten years ago I reported on the 50 th Birthday celebration of Farnborough (Kent) Bridge Club (‘Frolics at Fifty’), thereby creating a rod for my own back by saying that, in ten years time, we could look forward to the ‘Sexy Sixties’. Now that the moment has come, I am anxiously seeking a different heading, not wishing to attract the wrong kind of readership. (This is not strictly true – I am desperate for any kind of readership).
The Committee decided to arrange a ‘bit of a do’ to be held in the hallowed halls of Chislehurst Golf Club – sometime home of Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie. This was not a deliberate attempt to redress the Anglo-French balance following our 50 th at Chartwell (Sir Winston Churchill’s residence). The final attendance was 81, a suitably challenging number for our non-playing director to wrestle with when devising movements for pairs, rubber, individual, and cut-in teams. The concept here was to cover the various bridge formats which had been used at the Club since its inception.
The setting and the weather were perfect for a full day’s entertainment including morning coffee, four bridge sessions, lunch, a beautiful anniversary cake and finally, a magnificent dinner, for which the Head Chef and his team deserve all the plaudits we could give them.
The first hurdle was surmounted when all the men managed to equip themselves with jacket & tie. Male bridge players, particularly at the lower end of the age range, are not renowned for the breadth of their wardrobe and this made some of us not instantly recognisable in the early stages of the day. Conversely, it was rather more predictable that the ladies looked universally lovely.
We were grateful to Chislehurst for allowing outsiders into the Clubhouse, which offered a lovely view of the golf course. After a few drinks, many of us could picture ourselves out there scoring birdie after birdie. (Bridge players are like that, even if, deep down, we know our limitations).
Grateful thanks are due to our Committee and other Club members for their time and trouble in arranging the day, but, as this is not a speech at the Oscars, I am restricting the name checks to two individuals who did so much to make the day special.
Phil Bailey ran all the bridge in his inimitable, unflappable way, managing to devise movements (and then score) for a permanently fluctuating number of players without noticeable pause for thought. There were no delays at any stage, apart from the one where all the lunch sandwiches has been eaten by the time Phil got there after scoring the Pairs competition. (Missing the food is a very unBaileylike activity, to those of us who know him well)
Secondly, Martin S. Taylor, a member, not only of Farnborough but also the Magic Circle who performed close up magic tricks at every single table during dinner. The originality and dexterity were truly amazing. Martin is a professional magician and hypnotist and his finale was the ‘escaping from a straightjacket’ routine in 90 seconds – rather less time than it takes me to sort a bridge hand.
After all the excitement, I am left with two thoughts which I cannot shake off – (1) why do all these bridge books tell us of the importance of counting, deducing and planning? Surely, it’s far more useful to become a hypnotist and magician and (2) although Martin brought his own straitjacket, is this something the EBU should be considering as an extra aid to directors for those moments which have moved from difficult to impossible?
On behalf of all Club members, I thank the large number of people who had so much to do in creating such a memorable day for us all.
The Anniversary Cake
Made by Wendy Church. It was scrumptious.
Mike de Winter
Ted and Moya Nesom with Mary Kendall and Tony Conway
Phil Bailey, Barbara Howarth and Mark Howarth
Don and Ann Mitchell with Henry Greenberg
Who is this? When and where?
In the middle is young Henry Greenberg at the 1968 Summer North American Bridge Championship in Minneapolis. The toast is to celebrate Henry's promotion to the rank of American Grand Master. In the picture are conference organisers and far left is Blackwood - 'He was getting on by then', says Henry, 'he was in his 70s'. It is Henry's 90th birthday this month - May 2012.
Marian Hunt and Brad Featherman
Christine Kempton and Phil Jones
Alison and Peter Burt
Helen and Richard Gibbons
Mike Rafferty and Liz Blande
Chris Wall and Jenny Kerr
Jackie and Neil Wotherspoon
Jan Johnson and Graham Clements
Bill Marle and Janne Green
Janet and Campbell Scoones
David and Jo Lightfoot
John Amor, Keith Ashcroft and Mike Hampton
Beryl and Fred tedore with Brigid Smith
Jo Swan and Wendy Church
Michael Price and Garry Andrews
Tony and Yvonne Chalkley
Harry and Gwenda Evans
Iris Willis and David Brown
June Prout and Adrian Lis
David and Hilary Powell
Val Smith and Bill Charlwood
Paul and Jean Fishleigh
John Hemington and Jennifer Wiles
Allan and Gillian Foster
Martin S. Taylor
His magic tricks were magic - See Martin S Taylor
John Amor, Leila Williams, Keith Ashcroft and June Prout
Jan, Mike and Richard
A nice cup of tea
Jeanne Hurst, Jo Swann, Daphne Ryan and Wendy Church
and for my next trick...
Martin Taylor trying to hypnotise Garry Andrews and Michael Price.
Will this affect their Bridge results?
See Martin S Taylor
Mike de Winter, Mary Kendall and Tony Conway
Another welcome break.
Chrissie Kempton, Peter Taylor, Keith Ashcroft and Phil Jones.
Relaxing on the Terrace
Campbell and Janet Scoones, Bill Charlwood, Farah Diggens, Alison and Peter Burt
Richard Gibbons, Gillian and Allan Foster and Jenny Kerr
Chrissie's 60th nails
The Director at Work
The Director smiles
The Day's Programme
The Table Plan for Dinner
1. Mary Kendall & Mike de Winter
2. Peter Taylor & Keith Ashcroft
3. Brad Featherman & Marian Hunt
4. Alison & Peter Burt
5. Mark & Barbara Howarth
6. Phil Jones & Christine Kempton
=1. Mary Kendall +2300
=1. Mike de Winter +2300
1. Gwenda Evans
2. David Brown
1. Tony Chalkley
2. Chris Wall
1. Iris Willis
2. Harry Evans
1. Christine Kempton
2. Allan Foster
CUT IN TEAMS
1. Mark & Barbara Howarth
Helen & Richard Gibbons
2. Katy Graves & Janet Davies
Jan & Campbell Scoones
3. Trish & Vernon Hughes
Jo & David Lightfoot