HORLEY BRIDGE CLUB~
The Club was formed on 9th March 1983 by a group of newly retired people who had attended adult education classes and then found no local club with either room for them or the inclination to accept less experienced players as members. There were 15 founder members.~
At the Inaugural General Meeting officers were elected and it was agreed to draw up a set of Rules. It was also agreed that the Club would meet on a Wednesday evening at the Adult Education Institute in the High Street, Horley. The first meeting was held on 16th March 1983.~
It was always intended that duplicate bridge should be played but was also recognised that it would take a few weeks to organise this so initially rubber bridge only was played. The first duplicate session was played in April.~
2. Ethos of the Club~
Geof Sumner, the founding Chairman, was always of the opinion that the Club should be a properly constituted bridge club with a written set of Rules and Bye Laws and that sessions should be run strictly in accordance with EBU rules and regulations. In his view bridge was a game to be played to as high a standard as one was capable of but always with pleasure and courtesy. He gave the Club its motto of “Skill with Enjoyment”.~
The Club was affiliated to the EBU in April 1983.~
3. Sessions and Premises~
In April the Club transferred its premises to the old Hookwood Memorial Hall where regular rubber bridge sessions were played on Mondays with duplicate sessions on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays.~
At the AGM in April 1984, concern was expressed about the lack of support for rubber sessions on a Monday evening and it was agreed to alternate between evening and afternoon sessions. It was also agreed to cease to play at Hookwood on Wednesday evenings and instead to book St Francis Hall in Horley for every Wednesday evening for duplicate bridge, starting on 2nd May. The use of two venues continued until the Club transferred all its sessions to the new Hookwood Memorial Hall in June 2001.~
Rubber bridge ceased in 1985 and Monday duplicate sessions proved more successful.~
In 1986 bridge was played at Hookwood on the 1st and 3rd Fridays with wine and cheese to enhance the social aspect of the Club but these were not successful and were short lived.~
However, the following year the Club started to play on the 1st Saturday evening of the month when 5 or 6 tables were the norm. Various combinations of 2 or 3 sessions per month were played for the next 10 years. As the Old Hookwood Hall became less and less inviting support waned and they were suspended. A brief resurrection of playing on the 1st Saturday began in 1998 but the last Saturday session was played in February 1999.~
4. Growth of the Club~
The Club quickly grew from its 15 founder members and by the end of the first year membership had grown to 38. The founding Chairman, Geof Sumner, stated at the 1984 AGM that he was confident of continued growth and by 1985 membership had nearly doubled to 67. Steady growth continued until the 100 member mark was achieved in 1990. Membership peaked in 1992 at 116 and has gradually declined since then to now remain steady at about 100 members.~
With the growth in members, so the number of tables increased. In 1990/91 Monday afternoons had 3 to 6 tables, Saturday evenings averaged 7 tables and Wednesday evenings always had at least 12 tables and often 15 tables. Occasionally 16 tables were reached and the session was split into two playing sessions.~
Since moving to the new Hookwood Hall in 2001, the balance between Monday afternoons and Wednesday evenings has gradually shifted. Wednesday evening attendance has declined from 10 or 11 tables to 7 or 8 tables as a norm. However, Monday afternoon sessions have grown steadily in popularity with 9 tables or more becoming the norm.~
This may be as a result of having a higher number of retired members who are able to play of an afternoon combined with an aging membership which finds coming out in the evening less attractive, especially in the winter months.~
Club players were competitive from the early years. In 1983 two teams played in the newly formed Redhill Bridge League and in 1990 fielded 4 teams in the League. The Club continued to be represented in the League by one or more teams until the 2004/05 season when Surrey County Bridge Association changed the way it was run and it ceased to be attractive to any team.~
It was also very usual to find players attending all the SCBA and most of the Surrey club run competitions at weekends, as well as congresses further afield. In latter years there has probably been less participation in competitive events but some pairs continue to play. One of the Club’s highlights was when Anne and David Hughes played in the Swiss Pairs at the Brighton Congress in 1999 and were the top non-expert pair, coming 87th overall.~
In the 1980s, national and international competitions were regularly played on Saturday evenings with manual scoring being done in the early hours as results had to be submitted within a few hours of completion because of differing time zones.~
The Club has also had its own trophies from early in its history and has awarded trophies for both pairs and on an individual basis. These have varied over the years but have always tried to recognise both more and less experienced players based on EBU ratings.~
The Club also ran a Teams of 4 Knockout competition in members’ homes for some years but the difficulty of finding an available evening caused this to cease in 2000.~
6. Swiss Teams Tournament~
In order to raise the profile and standing of the Club, a Swiss Teams Tournament, licensed by the EBU, was held on 12th March 1988 at St Francis Hall. As numbers grew, the event transferred to nearby Oakwood School in 1990. This became a firm fixture on the local bridge playing calendar for the next 19 years with many of the same teams entering year after year. In 1992 a team from Brunoy in France, the town with which Reigate is twinned, added an international dimension. Entries were regularly in the high 20s and peaked in 1996 with 36 teams playing but gradually declined to the low 20s. Initially many club members had played in the event and there had been a lot of help forthcoming for the organisation. However, over the years member’s interest waned and it was being primarily run for players outside of the Club. It was decided it had run its course and the last event was held on 18th March 2006. Instead the Club held a very successful Club Teams Event 2007 with 11 teams entering. This has now become the vehicle for the awarding of the Sumner Memorial Trophy.~
7. New players~
The Club has never forgotten it origins and has continued through the years to actively encourage those new to bridge. The Chairman stated at the 1985 AGM that “part of the Club’s function is to encourage inexperienced players and to develop bridge in the area and Hookwood provides a useful nursery.”~
Sessions, called “Improvers”, were held at Hookwood on a Thursday evening when some bridge teaching was combined with playing. Such players became “Associate members” until such time as they were ready to join the club as full members. Two of the Club’s current best players joined the Club this way. As players joined the Club, lack of new people wishing to learn led to the cessation of these sessions (and subsequently associate membership) in December 1998.~
Sessions for those new to duplicate bridge or unused to playing at a Club were started on Thursday afternoons in October 2003. The emphasis of these sessions is on etiquette at the table, rules of play and speed of play rather than teaching although a certain amount of coaching is given. They run for about 26 weeks of the year in an autumn and spring term. Many players progress from these sessions to playing on Monday afternoons and/or Wednesday evenings. ~
In 1999 the Club held its first Invitation Evening to encourage people to bring along those new to bridge. So as to be less intimidating to new players, less boards are played, the speed of play is slightly slower and there is not so much strict adherence to the rules. There is also a break for nibbles to allow people to socialise with club members. This has been held at least annually ever since and has usually attracted a few new players to the Club.~
Initially it was envisaged that the Club would add a strong social dimension to playing bridge. A birthday party was held every April but this ceased when the Swiss Teams tournament was introduced as organisational effort was directed to making the tournament a success. Cheese and wine evenings combined with bridge on Friday evenings were not successful and having cheese and wine after the AGM was also abandoned in favour of playing bridge.~
A Club barbeque was held in June 198 but not repeated.~
However, a successful Christmas party has been held every year. Initially outside caterers were engaged but this became prohibitively expensive and now members bring dishes. The meal is followed by bridge played with degrees of seriousness in direct relation to the consumption of wine!~
Attempts to encourage a group holiday have not been successful.~
9. Ahead/ behind the game~
The Club has sometimes been ahead of bridge matters in general and sometimes behind.~
Some innovations at the Club have been:-~
1991 Computer scoring was looked at but anomalies were found in Stephen Brown’s scoring program.~
1995 Bidding boxes were introduced on a trial basis on Monday afternoons.~
1996 Bidding boxes were adopted for all sessions.~
1999 Smoking was banned both at table and in the building.~
2005 A host system was introduced, initially on Wednesday evenings and then on Monday afternoons.~
2007 The Club’s Website was finally up and fully functioning.~
10. The Future~
It is my belief that every Bridge Club develops its own personality. Some are more competitive, some are more social, some are welcoming and some not so.~
After 25 years Horley Bridge Club seems to fall neatly in the middle. We play competitively but still remain friendly. We don’t socialise much but know how to party when we do. We actively encourage new members and therein, I believe, lies the continuing strength of the Club.~
January 2008 President~
HORLEY BRIDGE CLUB CONSTITUTION
1. NAME The name of the club shall be HORLEY BRIDGE CLUB.
The Club shall be a Members’ Club and its object is to provide facilities for the playing and enjoyment of Bridge.
The headquarters of the Club shall be at The Hookwood Memorial Hall, Withey Meadows, Hookwood, Surrey, RH6 OAZ, or at such other place as the Committee determine.
The Club will be affiliated to the Surrey County Bridge Association and to the English Bridge Union.
5.1. Membership shall be open to all Bridge players.
5.2. Any person wishing to become a member of the Club shall apply for membership by completing and forwarding to the Secretary such form as may be prescribed from time to time by the Committee.
5.3. All applications for membership of the Club must be proposed and seconded by existing members of the Club unless the Committee decides otherwise.
5.4. All membership application forms received by the Secretary shall be displayed in a prominent place at the premises at which the Club regularly meets for a minimum period of two weeks.
5.5. Any member wishing to object to an application for membership should notify the Secretary in writing.
5.6. After the expiry of the period of two weeks mentioned above, the Committee shall as soon as convenient consider the application for membership, taking into account any objections notified to the Secretary, and shall promptly notify the applicant of the acceptance or otherwise of the application.
5.7. In declining an application the Committee may give a reason but shall not be obliged to do so.
5.8. In considering applications for membership the Committee shall have regard to the playing facilities available, and may from time to time decide that the Club shall be closed to new applications for membership for such period as it may decide.
5.9. A member shall cease to be a member of the club immediately if expelled from the club under the provisions of clause 15, or if his resignation in writing is delivered to the Secretary.
5.10. Annual Subscriptions shall be payable on election and thereafter at the beginning of the financial year which shall run from the 1st of April to the 31st March. A member whose annual subscription has not been paid shall cease to be a member on the expiration of the period of six months from the date on which the subscription was due for payment. No person shall be admitted to membership until an entrance fee and Annual Subscription has been paid to the Treasurer.
5.11 A former member of the Club who wishes to rejoin as a member may do so without the necessity for a further formal application for membership, unless the Committee decides otherwise.
5.12 Honorary Life Members, who shall not be liable to pay any entrance fee or subscription but shall be entitled to all the privileges of membership, may be elected by the Club in a General Meeting. There will not, at any one time, be more than five Honorary Life Members.
5.13 All members of the Club shall automatically be members of the English Bridge Union.
5.14 All members of the Club shall adhere to the Constitution.
6.1. The Executive Officers of the Club shall be the Chairman, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer.
6.2 A Non-Executive President of the Club may be elected. The President usually represents the Club to the outside world but is not a member of the Committee. Candidates for the post of President are normally chosen from those who have rendered long-term service to the Club and their candidacy is recognition of that service.
6.3. The Chairman (or in his absence, a Committee member mutually agreed upon by the Committee members) shall preside at each meeting of The General Committee, and at The Annual General Meeting.
6.4. No member of the Club shall simultaneously hold the office of more than one Officer of the Club.
6.5. Each of the Officers of the Club shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Club, and shall retire annually at the ensuing Annual General Meeting, but shall be eligible for re-election
6.6. In the event of a vacancy arising during the year in the office of any Officer of the Club, the Committee shall choose one of their number to fill such vacancy until the ensuing Annual General Meeting.
7.1. The Committee of the Club shall consist of the Executive Officers of the Club, together with five other members of the Club, who shall be elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Club, and shall retire annually at the ensuing Annual General Meeting, but shall be eligible for re-election.
7.2. The Committee may from time to time co-opt further members of the Club to serve on the Committee until the ensuing Annual General Meeting, whether to fill a vacancy arising, or as additional members, except that the total number of members of the Committee (including Officers) shall at no time exceed eight. Co-opted members shall be entitled to participate fully in the proceedings of the Committee but will be non-voting.
7.3. A quorum at meetings of the Committee shall be three members of the Committee, including at least one of the Officers.
7.4. The Committee may from time to time appoint sub-committees to undertake on its behalf such aspects of the administration of the Club as it shall think fit, and members of such sub-committees may include members of the Club who are not members of the Committee.
7.5. Proceedings of the Committee and of any sub-committees shall be regulated in such manner as the Committee may from time to time decide.
7.6. The Committee shall make a report to each Annual General Meeting of the Club concerning the affairs of the Club since the previous Annual General Meeting.
8.1. The affairs of the Club shall be managed by the Committee, and the Committee shall have power to determine any issue arising in connection with the affairs of the Club which is not specifically provided for in this Constitution.
8.2. The Committee may from time to time formulate and publish such rules as it thinks expedient for the efficient and harmonious running of the Club (but in the case of any conflict between such rules and this Constitution, the Constitution shall prevail).
8.3 Any issue of policy determined by the Committee or any rules published by the Committee may be varied by a resolution of members at a General Meeting of the Club, provided that such resolution is not in conflict with this Constitution and is not retrospective in application.
8.4 In the event of such variation being made, the policy or rules (as the case may be) shall not be further varied by the Committee in a manner inconsistent with the resolution.
9. GENERAL MEETINGS
9.1. An Annual General Meeting of the Club shall be held in each year no later than four months after the end of the financial year.
9.2. A Special General Meeting of the Club shall be convened by the Committee if a request for such a meeting signed by at least ten members of the Club is delivered to the Secretary, stating the reason for the meeting, and such meeting shall take place within one month of the receipt of such request.
9.3. A Special General Meeting of the Club may be convened by the Committee on its own initiative at any time.
9.4. All General Meetings of the Club shall be held at the headquarters of the Club unless circumstances arise which render this impracticable.
9.5 The Chairman, if present, shall chair all General Meetings of the Club, and in his absence, some other member of the Committee shall chair the meeting.
9.6. Notice of all General Meetings of the Club shall be given to all members of the Club no later than two weeks prior to the date fixed for the meeting.
9.7. Any member may propose a motion to be discussed at an Annual General Meeting provided that written notice of the proposed motion is delivered to the Secretary no later than 28 days prior to the date fixed for the meeting.
9.8 The chairman of the meeting may permit discussion of other business at a General Meeting if he thinks fit.
9.9. A quorum at General Meetings of the Club shall be ten members present in person.
9.10. If fifteen minutes after the time fixed for a General Meeting of the Club no quorum shall be present, the meeting shall be adjourned to a new date (of which the like notice shall be given to members as was required to be given for the meeting which has been adjourned), and in the case of a General Meeting which has been adjourned due to the lack of a quorum (but not of a meeting adjourned for any other reason) such number of members as are actually present at the adjourned meeting shall constitute a quorum.
9.11. Voting at General Meetings of the Club shall be by show of hands, and in the event of parity of voting the chairman of the meeting shall have a second or casting vote.
10.1. Notices of any Special General Meeting of the Club, and of an annual General Meeting at which in the opinion of the Committee any business of a non-routine nature is likely to be discussed, shall be communicated to all members on The Club Notice Board or E-Mail.
10.2. Notices of any Annual General Meeting at which in the opinion of the Committee no business of a non-routine nature is likely to be discussed, may be given to members either by post to the last address of each member notified to the Secretary, or by displaying a notice in a prominent position at the headquarters of the Club.
10.3. Notices of any other matters to be brought to the attention of members shall be made by displaying a notice in a prominent position at the headquarters of the Club.
11.1. Nominations for the posts of Officers or Committee members shall be in writing, and shall be signed by a proposer and a seconder, both of whom shall be members of the Club, and also by the person nominated.
11.2. Nominations must reach the Secretary no later than one week prior to the date fixed for the Annual General Meeting.
12. SUBSCRIPTIONS and FEES
12.1. Each member of the Club shall pay an annual subscription, the basic amount of which for the time being shall be decided at the Annual General Meeting of the Club. Subscriptions shall be due for payment by 1st April in each year in respect of the year to the following 31st March.
12.2. Each member of the Club, and each guest and visitor, shall pay table money on each occasion when he plays at the Club. The basic amounts are set by the Club Committee.
12.3. Each successful applicant for membership of the Club shall be required to pay an entrance fee, the amount of which for the time being shall be decided at the Annual General Meeting of the Club.
12.4. The Committee may determine variations on the basic amounts of subscriptions and table money for members, guests and visitors in different circumstances, and may waive subscriptions or table money in the event of hardship or for any other good cause.
12.5 The Annual General Meeting may authorise the Committee to increase the basic amounts of subscriptions.
12.6 The Committee may determine from time to time the amount of fees to be charged for use of the premises or equipment of the Club, or for any other purpose for which it is of the opinion that fees ought to be charged.
12.7 The Subscription fee for an ordinary member shall be such a sum as the Club may determine in General Meeting. At the discretion of the General Committee an ordinary member may be allowed to pay a reduced subscription for any period less than six months.
13.1. The Committee shall arrange for accounts to be prepared in respect of the financial affairs of the Club for each year ending on 31st March.
13.2. The accounts for each year shall be presented to the annual General Meeting of the Club for approval.
14. GUESTS and VISITORS
14.1. Any member may invite a guest to play at the club at any time, but in the event of the playing facilities being inadequate to accommodate all those who wish to play, priority shall be given to members.
14.2. A member introducing a guest shall be responsible for such guests strictly observing this Constitution and the Club Byelaws. No person whose membership of the Club has been terminated or suspended under Section 15 of this Constitution or whose membership application has at any time been rejected shall be introduced as a guest.
15.1. In the event of a complaint being made to the Committee about the conduct of a member of the Club, the Committee may (and if a written complaint is received signed by at least three members of the Club, including the originating complainant, it shall) investigate the complaint. Any complaint must be made within seven days of the event or events giving rise to the complaint.
15.2. On investigating such a complaint the Committee shall give the member about whose conduct the complaint has been made an opportunity to be heard and put forward evidence in his/her defence (this includes witnesses if appropriate). If a live Hearing takes place the member may be accompanied by a friend or representative who need not be a member of the club. Additionally, the member has the right to have questions put to the complainant and supporting witnesses (if any) by the Committee.
15.3. If on investigating such a complaint the Committee is of the opinion that the member has behaved in an unacceptable manner or in such a manner as to cause injury to the interests of the Club, then the Committee may reprimand the member, suspend the member from the privileges of membership for such period as it may think fit, or expel the member from the Club.
15.4. The Committee shall forthwith notify the member of any decision made on the investigation of a complaint about his conduct, and may if it thinks fit publicise the decision by displaying a notice at the headquarters of the Club.
15.5. An appeal may be made to a General Meeting of the Club against any decision to reprimand, suspend or expel a member of the Club following the investigation of a complaint about his/her conduct.
15.6. Notice of such an appeal must be in writing, and delivered to the Secretary within two weeks of the notification to the member of the decision of the Committee.
15.7 On the appeal being heard by a General Meeting of the Club, the General Meeting shall have power to overrule the conclusion of the Committee, or to uphold it, in which event the sanction imposed by the Committee may be confirmed or varied (to any sanction which the Committee was empowered to impose, or to none).
15.8 Nothing in this Constitution shall preclude the Committee from referring a matter of conduct to the Conduct Committee of the Surrey County Bridge Association, or to the Laws & Ethics Committee of the English Bridge Union if it considers it appropriate to do so.
16. ALTERATIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION
16.1. No alterations shall be made to this constitution except at a General Meeting of the Club.
16.2. In order for a resolution to alter this constitution to have effect, at least two-thirds of the votes cast on the resolution must be in favour.
The General Committee may from time to time make, vary and revoke byelaws (consistent with this Constitution) for the regulation of the internal affairs of the Club and the conduct of members, and the Byelaws for the time being in force shall be binding on all members.
18. EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY
Neither the Club nor any Officer thereof shall be liable to any member or visitor for any loss or damage to any property, occurring from whatever cause, in or about the Club premises, nor for any injury sustained by any member or guest whilst on or entering or leaving the Club premises.
19.1. In order for a resolution that the Club shall be wound up to have effect at least two-thirds of the votes cast on the resolution must be in favour, and in addition the number of votes cast in favour of the resolution must exceed one-half of the number of members of the Club entitled to attend and vote at the General Meeting at which the resolution is put.
19.2 If a resolution that the Club shall be wound up is effectively passed, the Committee shall be responsible for winding up the affairs of the Club. All the assets of The Club will be capitalised and distributed equally among the charities supported by the Club as specified in the Byelaws.
HORLEY BRIDGE CLUB
15th June 2010