Another successful bridge congress

BRIDGE players from all states of Australia and from New Zealand have headed home from Coffs Harbour at the conclusion of the nation's richest bridge congress.

The Coffs Coast Bridge Super Congress, which began last Tuesday, distributed $17,500 in prize- money to the winners among the 500 card players at the cocktail party and awards evening, which concluded the congress yesterday.

The event is hosted each year by the Coffs Harbour Bridge Club and is held at Opal Cove Resort, where it takes over the resort's entire conference centre for six days.

More than 400 of the players are visitors from outside the region.

Coffs Harbour Bridge Club president and congress organiser Helen Blewitt said the 200-member club was very proud of the event.

She said it had developed rapidly since 2004, when the first super congress began with 60 tables, to this week's event which saw 118 tables and a waiting list of 10 teams (40 players).

“It is all run by members of the Coffs Harbour Bridge Club voluntarily,” Mrs Blewitt said.

“This year we also paid four Year 11 students from the Coffs Harbour Senior College to caddy for us.

“Each player plays with a whole pack of cards and there are thousands of packs – the kids were really good.”

This year's event also attracted a number of professional bridge players, including Australia's top mark point earner, Bobby Richmond, a world international bridge master. The super congress, the largest in NSW and third largest in Australia as well as the nation's richest, benefits local charities.

Mrs Blewitt said they supported the Alzheimer's Association because the association recommended playing bridge to help keep the mind sharp.

She said they were also supporting the Lions Club's project to build an enclosed sensory garden at the Coffs Harbour Health Campus for the use of dementia and palliative care patients.

“We will donate a big chunk of our proceeds to that,” Mrs Blewitt said.

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