I did not have an interest in Bridge until I was nearly 40. However my parents, refugees from Nazi oppression, used to tell me that in the 1920's and '30's a great uncle owned and ran a Bridge Club above a coffee shop on the Ringstrasse in Vienna.
Education in the '60s was at the London School of Economics where I gained my first degree and a Masters in Industrial Relations and Labour Law. This was the time of unrest and sit-ins where I had my first experience of working with people of differing views to resolve those differences; later I became Chairman of the Graduate Students Association.
Employment was in the family printing business which over the years we expanded to become a supplier to several household international names. I was greatly helped in this by Lesley my second wife.
I come from an intensely “political” family, in some ways similar to the Milibands. So on my return to Leeds I became heavily involved in local politics. At 24 a Leeds City Councillor, by the age of 27 I was Chairman of a main committee dealing with the Environment. This has always been a major concern of mine – at that time, the 1970's, when it was obscure and not understood, I was giving frequent lectures on this subject, up to postgraduate level. Eventually I became a senior local politician as a party whip and Chairman of the Council Finance Committee.
All that changed when my first wife died suddenly leaving me, aged 36, with 2 very young children. There was a complete life style change as I focused solely on the kids and my livelihood. As I emerged from those dark days, for no particular reason, I decided it was time to learn Bridge!
Since that time in the 1980's, with the help of Lesley, a natural and far better Bridge player than me, I have achieved a moderate level of competence. The lateral thinking and administrative skills that I possess, have been applied at all levels of Bridge - at Leeds Bridge Club where I run the “House” Committee that deals with all none Bridge matters. At County level on the Congress and Education & Development Committees and of course as a main Board Director.
It is obvious that competition and high level Bridge are fundamentally important for the health and quality of the game. Yet I am acutely aware that the vast majority of Bridge players do not participate at that level.
Now as a part time Business Consultant in print, packaging and the media, I find time for our 5 grown up children and 7 grandchildren. Spare hours when not playing Bridge are filled with my renewed political activities, where I am Chairman of the local Constituency Party, again, after a break of 44 years! There is also a local Community Radio Station where, as Financial Director, I also interview/present on political matters.
Finally when bored or moved to do so, I have started writing poetry which my friends tell me is quite good. But then they would do wouldn't they!
Favourite animal: the elephant for its dignity, memory, and sense of family – all qualities I admire.
Book of the moment: “Bring up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel - a remarkable writing style; the Collected Works of the American poet, Robert Frost
Who do I admire: Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey - he built something out of nothing.
Ideal Night: sitting on a warm beach watching the sun go down with a few friends to be followed by a (slightly) alcoholic supper and some late night Bridge.