Chris Benneworth

I grew up in a card-playing household; my mum was a keen bridge player and she started me on whist and solo and encouraged me to play bridge from about the age of ten. I started playing Nottingham Club (does anyone still play it ?) and quickly switched to Acol, which I’ve used with three regular partners since. After a while, I began directing at my local club, Brunton in north Newcastle, where both Ian Spoors and Ian Muir were members. Ian Spoors persuaded me to take the County Directors’ course so I could take over from him as the NEBA Chief TD. At about the same time, I applied to the EBU and was accepted on to the panel. I’m now doing much more work for the EBU, and I enjoy the challenge and working in collaboration with other directors. I have also run lots of courses for club directors which I find very satisfying and stimulating – there are lots of good club directors out there.

Outside bridge, I worked in education in a number of different roles, initially as a maths teacher, but ending as Chief Education Officer in my local authority. I was a magistrate for 21 years in the criminal and family courts – it’s interesting that the roles of magistrate and TD have many similarities and require similar skills. I was married in 1971 and we have two children and four grandchildren. We’ve always lived on the north-east coast. My wife Linda also qualified as a county TD and we have worked together on many occasions at County Congresses; more recently we have begun working as hosts at the EBU Overseas Congress.