By Peter Lee
I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of Liz Phillips on Tuesday 17th March from bronchopneumonia at age 92. I had some weeks before been discussing with her the possibility of our playing in the Portland Pairs, and then heard she had been admitted to St. Anthony’s Hospital with cellulitis. I had earlier been on the phone and was scheduled to visit her there on the 15th, but she phoned me that morning to say she was not well enough for me to see her.
She had been a friend of mine and Margaret’s for many years, and I had enjoyed playing with her as a partner and team member in numerous events. She was a strong and formidable bridge player, an aggressive but sound bidder, and an excellent card player with very good powers of concentration. She retained an extremely sharp mind with no loss of ability in her later years.
We won the Lady Rose Cup (main Surrey teams of four event) 4 years running between 2008 and 2011 (Liz playing with Bob McRobert), on one occasion coming back from a huge early deficit against a team including three internationals. Together we won the Surrey Mixed Pairs 3 years running about that time. Even last year, we came second. She also played in Surrey county teams on many occasions.
She had a number of successes at national level, and represented the English ladies on various occasions. Her successes included three wins in the National Women’s Pairs, a win in the National Women’s Teams, a win in the National Inter-Club Knockout, and a win in the Garden Cities Trophy. The last two wins were representing the Mayfield Club, currently in Tadworth. She had uncountable successes at the Mayfield, far too many to list. Indeed, when Margaret and I moved to Surrey over 30 years ago, and played in an event at the club (then in Epsom) I was struck by the extremely large number of mentions of her name on the club honours board. At that time I did not know her, but soon found out why she won quite so often!
Liz also, in 1987, received the Dimmie Fleming award for services to bridge.
Liz was born Elizabeth Johnston and married Dicky Phillips who predeceased her Dicky was no mean bridge player himself. As a Mayfield Club Committee stalwart he also served as Surrey County Bridge Secretary for a number of years.
We shared a common interest in sport, and I discovered that she had played golf at women’s county level, and been an excellent tennis player and cricketer. Her sporting prowess was perhaps no accident, as her father (Brigadier General Alexander Johnston) had opened the batting for Hampshire with the legendary C.B.Fry just before World War I.
I will miss her.