In these difficult times, and with the closure of the Club preventing the dissemination of news in person, we feel it is important to be able to share the information we receive about members' passing. If you would like to inform us of a member's death or add any particular memories, facts, reminiscences, anecdotes or photos to these posts, please contact Ralph Power via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Halse played at the club, almost exclusively on Monday evenings, for many years. She was a popular member of the club, with a friendly and cheerful demeanour. As a player, she was a shrewd competitor and an excellent partner. Elizabeth took great pride in her appearance, always immaculately dressed, with not a hair out of place, and this reflected her fastidiousness in other areas of her life. According to her family, she was very committed to ‘healthy eating’ going back to way before it became a popular approach.
The Bridge Club was an important part of her life, both when she was working and then in retirement, and she will be very much missed by the Monday Evening Players.
Joan Sidgreaves was a member of the Club for over 10 years, playing regularly on Friday evenings where she was a most pleasant, well-liked personality. I got to know Joan through her regular attendance at Stephen Royal’s Wednesday morning Improvers lessons, where I enjoyed her modest, humorous approach in trying to justify the tag ‘improver’. She has a dry sense of humour and a ready chuckle, and was self-deprecating about her ability at bridge. Another of our members who will be sadly missed.
Devan Stickley was a regular player on Monday and Friday evenings at the club. He had an unconventional approach to bidding and play, relying on his experience and instincts, and this brought him a great deal of success. He was a genial and warm character who will be greatly missed around the club.
Charlie told me [about Dev's passing] - he’d heard through Bristol Water as they were both anglers there. I was always fond of Dev, and it was comic that I knew him through bridge, where he was so maverick, and Charlie knew him for many years as an angler on Chew and Blagdon lakes, where he was known as a character - he was very well known for his ways!
Dev told me once that his education had been hard, he’d had to find his own ways round to learn (he’d probably be called dyslexic today) - and his finding his own way round rules and systems certainly spilled over into his fishing and bridge. As he’d gradually become ill and less mobile, he couldn’t fish in the last 3 years, at least, and was always grateful when I offered him a trout. He’d thank me and say perhaps Margaret, his Friday partner, would like one too! And she had one. But it was an example of him always doing things his way. Smiling, a bit cheeky or pushing his luck!
I always found Devon, as I called him, to be a delightful character and fun to play against. He was very generous to me too, in the trout gifts, plus green beans.
I’ll miss him.
We're sad to report the death of Alan Williams. Alan was General Manager of the EBU 1964 - 1968 before moving to Bristol, where he became Chairman of the West of England Bridge Club for several years before stepping down in May 2019. He played regularly at Bristol Bridge Club, where he was a well-known and popular figure. He passed away (from cancer) on 29 July 2020.
Once asked by English Bridge about his attitude to Bridge, Alan said, "I was recently thinking about bridge as a 'sport of the mind' and looked up the meaning of sport and found the definition 'amusement, diversion, fun'. And that's what I think bridge should be - a game to be enjoyed."
Alan Williams was one of nature's gentlemen; a very fine player and the most modest and affable person one could wish to play against. He was very astute and if ever I made a (rare) good play, he would be the first to say "well played". He was also a very sociable guy and, when he was well, he enjoyed a drink with the 'bridge boozers' at the Bear (Hotwell Rd) after bridge events. I will miss Alan very much but he will not be forgotten.
Renee Thornton was a regular player at Bristol Bridge Club until March 2020 when the club closed because of the Covid 19 pandemic. In her earlier life she was a very keen balloonist.
Friday nights will never be the same without Renee in her favourite North position, waiting anxiously for her partner, usually Andy Buchan, to appear. Some found her intense stare intimidating as you, West in my case, pondered your bid or play, but it didn’t bother me. Whether she and her partner came top, middle or bottom she just seemed to play for enjoyment, with sometimes outrageous bids. “It’s only a game” she would say. Over time her social activities decreased, so she no longer went on the National Trust outings or visited the latest Art Exhibitions, but bridge remained. I shall miss her.
Renee Thornton was quite a character: a true 'Brit' and a cultured lady who could appear to be quite feisty at the table, although she had a good heart and always enjoyed the funny side of things. We always had a joke when I played against her and I could see the kind and friendly side of her under her apparently fierce look. Renne was an accomplished landscape artist and I often chatted with her as she painted river Avon scenes at Sea Mills. I will miss Renee and never forget her.
An article by Adam Hunt:
This article about Renee includes details of her ballooning record - she was the first woman to cross channel in a hot air balloon and in a record time.
Delia Smith 1928 - 2020
Delia was an Honorary Life Member of the Club, past Chair, tutor and long time regular attendant until the last few years. She was a successful and well-respected player, whose company at the table was enjoyed by so many of our members. She will be much missed.
The Bridge Club was an important part of mum's life for many decades. As a teanager I served sandwiches at the club when it was located in Clifton, and I'm now 63! I have known a number of mum's Bridge partners and friends over the years.
Adam Strachan-Stephens (Delia's son)
Delia was one of the longest standing members of Bristol Bridge Club and had played both in Bristol and Avon (Somerset before 1990) and also Gloucestershire County.
Delia and Sarah Hurst were one of the best ladies pairs in Bristol for a long period of time and won many club and county events and played at national level as well.
I remember when I first played at the club in the 1980s she was very welcoming and offered to partner me.
A lovely lady.
Delia was always friendly towards my husband and me as inexperienced players. It was so welcoming to be recognised, however infrequently we played at the same events.
I brought Delia to and from the club on Monday and Wednesday afternoons for a couple of years, before she became too frail to manage a whole afternoon’s bridge. I thought she was wonderful company, with lots of insightful comments about bridge, as well as a great sense of humour. I, and many others, will miss her, and we will be thinking about ways to remember her contribution as an important member of the Club.