John Durden

1929 - 2005

"Surrey's Walter John Durden (pictured with Rixi Markus) died on June 3 in Lewisham Hospital, aged 76, after a fall. He was one of Surrey's finest bridge players, known and respected by everyone in the bridge world.

Bridge was not John's first love. Football was. As a young man he played for Wimbledon and his favourite club, Millwall. While in Singapore he also played for the RAF. he told many hilarious stories about how he had to hide in the back of a lorry as only officers were supposed to play; but John scored the goals. Due to a bad knee injury his football days came to an end, although he continued to referee for many more years.

During this time he began to play bridge and formed a partnership with Jack Lavis. What a formidable pair they were, winning many competitions and helping John become a Grand Master in 1988. John always enjoyed playing the Italian Blue Club and in 1985, along with Bill Macmillan, he documented his system, which many people in Surrey still play.

John was larger than life. he holds the record for the greatest number of Master Points achieved in his lifetime - in excess of 841,917.

He had a wonderful sense of humour and a great story-telling ability.

The bridge world will remember this great man for a very long time."

Norma Macmillan, a bridge partner of John's for many years, in English Bridge, August 2005

Brighton Pairs, Harold Poster Cup winner: 1977

Sunday Telegraph Salver winner: 1996 1997 and 1999