By John Williams
EB February 2000
Roy Higson who died peacefully at home at the age of 79 in November, was a colourful bridge character with born-again enthusiasm. His health had been poor for some years - he knew his heart would fail eventually if nothing worse got him first - but a cheerful disposition had hidden his situation from all but his closest family and friends.
Roy came to prominence in the Manchester area in the late 50s, culminating in his partnership with Raymond Brock which achieved outstanding success, including wins in the National Pairs in successive years and three appearances for England. But he found the top-level tournament world, with its pressures, rivalries and jealousies, unsuited to his disposition and he gave up playing to concentrate on tournament directing.
He was a TD who seemed to know and appreciate everyone without reference to their playing skill. One gained the impression that he saw his role as safeguarding the players’ enjoyment of the game within a fair environment, rather than enforcing compliance with the laws.
When Harold Franklin retired as EBU Chief TD in 1983, Roy succeeded him on his strict insistence that he was a caretaker only. Roy served a three-year term, notable for its harmony and quiet achievement - rather like the Joe Mercer era as England football manager, for those who remember such things.
When Roy duly made way for Max Bavin in 1986 the EBU honoured him as a Vice- President, recognising his services not only as a TD but as a member of the Laws & Ethics Committee in the late 1960s and the Tournament Committee in the mid 80s.
Many are remembered for their achievements. Roy is one of the cherished ones who will live long in memories, not for what he did, but simply for what he was. The memories will always raise a smile.