The John Armstrong Award

The award is instigated, organised, and judged by Danny Davies, John Holland, Graham Kirby, Jack Mizel and Paul Hackett. It is awarded for people who play the game in the spirit of John Armstrong. From Brighton Focus, August 2009: "We were all shocked and saddened at the sudden death of John Armstrong last July. He was a kind, accommodating gentleman amongst bridge players and men." "A few months ago Graham Kirby and I were driving home from a Crockfords match. We had just played against Paul Hackett and our conversation had naturally turned to the person with whom all of us were lucky enough to play bridge, John Armstrong. As we had a long way to go, Paul had asked Graham and me to think about the memorial trophy for John." "We briefly discussed how suitable the planting of trees in John’s name and the annual winner’s name was – as John loved the outdoors and orienteering. But it didn’t take long for our conversation to shift to how different playing bridge with John was, compared to playing with anyone else. We shared stories about the spirit in which John played the game, and how he contributed enormously to British bridge. John was welcoming to anyone he met at the table, whether they had been playing for two months or he was playing against some of the best players in the world. John would encourage opponents who were total beginners and if they asked, he would take time to help them improve. At the same time, I remember him laughing and joking on the other side of the screen with the great Norwegian Geir Helgemo in the middle of the European championships." by Danny Davies


2015 Winner: Sarah O'Connor

Sarah O'Connor was announced as the winner of the John Armstrong Award at the Summer Meeting in Brighton in August. Sarah was coordinator and coach of the newly established England Under 15 team. She set up the squad, and organised training weekends, helping to develop them from being inexperienced players in to a team which finished 4th in the European Championships in Norway less than six months later. This was alongside her 'proper job' as a teacher at St Paul's Girls' School, where she has also established a bridge club.

2014 Winner: No award

2013 Winner: David Wing

At the Brighton Congress, it was announced that David Wing is this year’s winner of the John Armstrong Award. The award is given to those players who play in the spirit of John Armstrong. David has recently successfully visited 51 English cities and seen either their city cathedral or famous church plus an EBU affiliated bridge club. All of his endeavours have been to raise money for the Alzheimers Society. At each bridge club, a city cup event took place and a cup presented (as a gift from David) to the club. Each cup was engraved with the name of the city plus the winners names. An ash has now been planted for David Wing and an oak in memory of John. Anyone wishing to pay tribute to the late John Armstrong can visit Heritage Wood, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, where trees and bulbs are planted yearly in his memory as well as a bench placed in his name.

2012 Winner: No award

2011 Winners: Sue Evans and Dennis Loynes

"The 2011 winners are Sue Evans and Dennis Loynes from Worcestershire for the sportsmanship demonstrated at the Hubert Phillips match where they provided a fourth to their opposing team instead of claiming the match as they were to entitled to by the rules; their virtue was all the greater as they then lost the match!" English Bridge, October 2011

2010 Winner: Bob Rowlands

by Michelle Brunner

Bob Rowlands is this year’s winner of the John Armstrong Award. A man of great stature and often referred to as a gentle giant, Bob’s humour at the bridge table as well as his good nature and impeccable ethics set him apart as a true gentleman of the game. Just like John used to be. Bob first represented Great Britain in 1966 and has won about every major British tournament – Gold Cup, Crockfords, Spring Fours, Hubert Phillips, National Pairs, Grand Masters (to name just a few), many in partnership with his friend and long-term partner – Peter Lee. Bob has given up much of his time to promote bridge amongst the younger fraternity by coaching promising juniors and he has been incredibly hospitable in allowing them to take over his London home, rent-free, when playing in London tournaments. For many years he was an EBU selector and would kibitz trialists in order to make informed decisions at selection meetings. Bob will receive a memento as a reminder of his marvellous attitude to opponents and fellow players. Anyone wishing to pay tribute to the late John Armstrong can visit Heritage Wood, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, where trees and bulbs are planted yearly in his memory as well as a bench placed in his name. Brighton Focus, Issue 9, 2010 (page 3)

2009 Winner: Bob Blackmore

Bob Blackmore was announced as the winner of the first award by the EBU’s Chairman, Sally Bugden at the Brighton Congress. Two trees will be planted at Heritage Wood, Derbyshire: one in memory of John and the other in Bob’s name. Helen Foster writes, “Much of Exeter Bridge Club’s success is attributed to Bob. A Grand Master, he partners players of any standard on a club evening and will encourage partner throughout, never failing to point out his own mistakes. His services to Devon are much appreciated, and the club bridge room was named after him.” See Brighton Focus, 2009 (page 7) Who was John Armstrong?