Laurie Champniss

1939 - 2017

Laurie Champniss was the founder, and long time owner, of South Bucks Bridge Centre, one of England's most popular and successful bridge clubs. Laurie established the club in a converted barn in rural Buckinghamshire, and it was officially opened in 1994. It quickly grew to be a club which was regularly amongst the top ten EBU affiliated clubs by number of player sessions in the year.

In early 2015, in an act of great generosity, Laurie donated the club to the recently formed charity, English Bridge Education & Development. He identified with EBED's mission to increase the number of people playing bridge, and was keen that the efforts to ensure the future of the club be linked with charitable activities. In 2016 the running of the club switched to a new management company, however EBED continues to organise and run the extensive teaching programme at the Centre.

Laurie was born in Harrow in 1939, and although his mother was a keen bridge player throughout Laurie did not learn until he was 30. He was taught at Harrow Bridge Club by Amy Dale who, after four lessons, threw Laurie and his friends in at the deep end, sending them to a local duplicate. In Laurie's words, "we didn’t know how bad we were, we just got on and played. Later, we came back for more lessons!". His passion for running a bridge club was cemented on a trip to Australia when he saw "the huge opportunity for playing bridge during the daytime". He made social daytime play a big part of his club at a time when it was far less common than it is today.

Although Laurie loved bridge, by his own estimations he was a better cricketer. Predominantly a wrist-spinner, he played for Buckinghamshire, and also the MCC on a tour to East Africa in 1973 in which he was captained by future England skipper Mike Brearley.