John Williams

I was born in Rugby, and went to school at Exeter Cathedral Choristers School, Rutlish School and then went to Bristol University, where I took a Joint Honours degree in Drama and French

At the EBU, I was Secretary and Company Secretary from 1978 until my retirement in 1998. Apart from writing thousands of pages of minutes I played a managing role in tournament organisation, internationals and English Bridge, as well as contributing to general and financial management. Since about 1995 I’ve been fortunate to act as NPC for England teams – both open, seniors and ladies – in the Camrose Trophy and Lady Milne, plus European Championships and Olympiads. These days I seem to feature regularly on disciplinary panels, which is worthwhile – some of us do have to do it! - but less enjoyable (obviously) and even more stressful

I started playing bridge at university in 1957 and have played ever since. I became a grand master in 1995 or thereabouts. I won the National Swiss Teams Championship in my very first year at the EBU, 1978. (It was then a prestigious event with an enormous entry: sadly, it’s now discontinued.) I’ve won other trophies in EBU congresses and many in county competitions and congresses in both Derbyshire and Oxfordshire.

I live in Chinnor in Oxfordshire and play at Menagerie and Oxford Bridge clubs

We asked John some questions about himself and these were his answers:

Who would you like to be stranded on a desert island with and why?
Arsene Wenger. I’ve always been a sports fan and have supported Arsenal for nearly 60 years. Plenty to talk about there. However, I’d hope to be rescued before one of us drove the other completely insane.

Who do you admire and why?
Joan Bakewell: she was very helpful and encouraging to me when I was trying to write professionally in the early 1960s. Successful professional people who find time and kind words for promising nobodies are always to be admired. Other such paragons I have met include Peter Hall and Tim Rice.

Which 4 famous people (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party?
See above. I would add Bernard Miles, who gave me my first theatre job at The Mermaid. He was a fine man and a great character. And I would add Roy Higson, who was both things also.

What is your ideal night out?
A game of bridge (teams) – and/or a night at the theatre (a big musical)

Tell us something about yourself that no one else would know ..
After a 32-year involvement in bridge, there’s not much I can think of. However, I doubt if any know that I did have three radio plays commissioned and broadcast by the BBC long ago, one of which earned me miniscule royalties from all over the world, for years