Ian died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday 11th September 2010 after an unsuccessful fight against cancer. A colleague at the EBU when she heard the news wrote: “Ian was one of those very few men who is smart, intelligent, funny and understanding. He will be sorely missed from our ranks.”
Ian was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire on 17th July 1949 to a card- playing family – always a good start. He began playing whist, but it wasn’t long before he learnt bridge. He went to the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle, where he was part of a successful school team that also included Ian Spoors with whom he remained a close friend.
After leaving Newcastle Polytechnic, Ian started work at the North Eastern Electricity Board, leaving them after a few years for a brief flirtation with private industry, then returning to British Gas, for whom he worked until 2005. Always fascinated by computers and IT, Ian was fortunate to work in a field that genuinely interested him.
Ian married Liz in 1971 and they always seemed a contented and happy couple, deriving comfort from each other’s strengths. They continued to play bridge together, playing a major part in founding and running Cramlington Bridge Club. In five consecutive seasons, the Club won Divisions f, e, d, c, b of the North East Bridge Association’s Inter-Club League; in the sixth they were runners-up in Division A, winning it the next season, before gradually declining as the young members left to follow careers elsewhere.
The birth of Jennifer, in 1975, completed Ian's family unit, and that they shared many a happy time and lots of laughter together, and especially a love of watching football.
Ian’s playing career flourished when he had a regular partner in Jimmy Ledger, but afterwards, though he continued to play, he never established another long-term partnership. He played with a number of different partners at Brunton Bridge Club which he represented for many years. He was a pleasure to play with; he was thoughtful, but never unduly slow; he was always courteous to his partner and his opponents. His habit of recording his scores in different colours according to vulnerability was simply an indication of the care that he took over every part of his game. And that care manifested itself in his tournament directing career. He began directing when his club, Cramlington, ran one-day Congresses, and he rapidly progressed through NEBA events to become a director on the National Panel in the 1980’s. He continued to direct for the NEBA and was a popular choice when local clubs were holding Congresses.
His deserved promotion to Senior Congress Tournament Director reflected the skill which he brought to the job and the unequivocal admiration of his colleagues on the director’s panel. He was one of the directors who it was always a pleasure to work with – conscientious, well-organised, tactful and kind.
His many friends will miss his integrity, humour, and love of the game of bridge.