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