Freddie Della-Porta

1905 - 2001

.d 2001 aged 95 by Gerald Faulkner

Freddie Della Porta, who has died at the great age of 95, was a man of many parts and interests. He received an OBE in 1973 in recognition of his work in promoting exports in the music business. It was typical of the man that I did not discover the existence of the award until many years late. I was taking him to a City Livery Dinner when the question of awards and decorations was raised.

Apart from his passion for bridge, Freddie loved classical music and tennis - he has been a member of the All England Club since 1958 and played in the Men's championships between 1930 and 1951. He was also the first man to compete in shorts at Wimbledon!

Freddie started playing bridge in the mid-1930's shortly after his marriage to Pip, who later became both an English and British international. As a pair they were delightful opponents, who enjoyed considerable success.

Having received so mush pleasure from the game, it was typical of Freddie to want to put something back, taking a great interest in bridge administration. He served on the committee of the London Association for many years and was a vice-president.

He also server on the EBU Council for a considerable time and was a member of the Board of Directors from 1976 to 1979. He received a Dimmie Fleming award in 1986 and, from 1991 until his death, was an EBU vice-president.

Perhaps, however, Freddie's greatest memorial within the game of bridge was his brainchild, the London Trophy, which he started in 1978 with 29 teams from non-bridge clubs, where primary activities could be golf or tennis. It is aimed at the less expert players.

His indefatigable and successful pursuit of sponsors and ever more new clubs has resulted in this growing to over 300 participating teams.

Freddie played a mean game of bridge (and tennis) well into his 90's, but with the grace and charm of a perfect gentleman. A wonderful example for us all, he will be sorely missed by his family and many friends.