President's Reports

Report back from Council – April 2014


The final meeting of our annual cycle is always busy and this year we also had to consider a report from a Working Party that we set up to look at how the Council is managed and provides services for its members.

The Council welcomed the report, even though it set us many challenges.  We have agreed to ask the Member Services committee to report back in November so that we can consult clubs and players on what services we can provide and how we deliver them.  In the meantime the Mempad team will circulate information directly to clubs and on the website on what you need to do to get the benefits of the system and, in particular, transmit results directly from your clubs computer and how club secretaries can amend data for their own members.

A couple of initiatives will be welcomed by all members:

  1. We have decided to provide an SBU diary to all members.  Next year’s edition will have the dates of all National events and it will replace the Competition brochure previously distributed.  If clubs want to display information on their notice boards, copies of all of tournament information and District calendars will be on the website. 

  2. We are hoping to have a regular free Newsletter for all members during the course of next season.  The SBU News will continue at 4 copies for £12 – with a reduction to £10 for payment by standing order.  This still represents outstanding value for a fine magazine that has had no price increase for some time.

  3. We have also decided to trial the appointment of a Tournament Secretary. This person will handle all entries to all National events, oversee arrangements and make sure that results are reported and master points are processed.  We will still require local people to help with venues and catering but I believe that this initiative will go a long way towards ensuring that many of the administrative problems encountered this year will be addressed.

Last - but not least - the Council was delighted to nominate Russell Frame as our nominee to be our next president.

As this is my final report back, may I take this opportunity to thank all SBU members who have helped me over the last two years – including those who have told me when things didn’t seem right or how we could do things better.  In particular can I thank all members of the SBU Council, who work so hard on our behalf - and who do not get much thanks!

We have a great bridge union in Scotland and although it can – and will – be even better, may I urge all members to see the ‘cup as half full’ and support the work of the new President and Council.  Most importantly can I urge you to attend the AGM on 27 May.  I look forward to seeing you there!


Mike Ash



Report back from Council – September 2013


Following the summer break the Council had a big agenda for its latest meeting.  The Executive Committee, including the chairs of our 5 committees, has discussed each committee’s work plans for this year and beyond.  These will now be agreed by Council so as to form a clear agenda for the future.  We will publish these on the website and, as always, welcome comments. 


Amongst the most important initiatives is one to get the many people who having been learning bridge involved in the Union.  Initially we will trial this in one or two districts so if you are working with bridge students, please look out for details.


The full role out of the new Mempad system is underway and the system is getting very good reviews.  If you haven’t yet logged on, can I strongly recommend that you do that and suggest that your club opens its link as soon as possible.  We are also getting encouraging feedback about the new website and we are continuing to try to improve it.  Please remember that you can enter events on-line.


Council was delighted to confirm the appointment of Joan Lees as our new Congress convener, taking over from Peter & Helena Cohen in January.  It is a hard act to follow but we are all sure that she will do an excellent job.  By the way, there are still places at the October Peebles Congress – if you haven’t already done so, get your entry in now!


The new format National League started in early September and, with an entry of 16 teams, it was an undoubted success (not least because of the splendid hospitality of the Perth club).  There are two more weekends before we know the winners.  However, with 60 plus players involved, it shows that this kind of intensive high level bridge has an appeal to more than just the elite.


The Tournament Committee has set itself the daunting task of reviewing all of national events that we run and recommend which events might be changed or replaced.  I know that the committee would welcome any suggestions. Either contact Ian Hunter or me.


Finally, but by no means least, the Council endorsed the initiative by the Laws & Ethics committee to promote Best Behaviour at Bridge.  The committee is producing a series of posters and programme of monthly memo which will contain simple points that clubs can draw to the attention of players.


As the new season gets underway can I wish every member the best of luck in all events – as Gary Player said “The more I practice the luckier I get!”.  True in Bridge as well as Golf.

Report back from Council – Feb 2014

Your Council continues to work hard for bridge players in Scotland.  A particularly welcome initiative this month has been the establishment of a Communications working group.  They will be bringing forward ideas in order to keep in touch with all members but also look for advertising and/or sponsorship to keep the excellent SBU News viable.  More next time.

Tournament players will have already observed that some changes have been made to some long established competitions and these have been generally well accepted.  We will also be bringing in some new features for the Peebles congresses, without losing the unique flavour of these popular weekends.

The Mempad project is making progress but it does require the co-operation of club secretaries and treasurers.  If your club is not yet sending results using Mempad do encourage your club to send in the information required to our Master Points secretary.  If your club needs help in order to make progress we have identified ‘champions’ for each district to help you.  Again please contact the MP secretary.

The new website (not so new now I suppose) has proved popular but we are conscious that it still needs improvement.  This now underway but I do stress that we can’t put information or results onto the site unless those responsible either post it themselves or send it to our secretary, Cathy Ferguson, who looks after the front page.

Finally we are coming up to District and SBU AGM’s.  Can I ask all members to take an interest in what is being discussed and make their views known.  Many members have shared views with me during my presidency – and I welcome this – but we can avoid many problems if we know what members want and they are aware of what we trying to achieve.  Check the SBU and your District websites for AGM information.

Report back from Council – November 2013


As is usually the case at this time of year the committees have been very busy and so the November Council meeting had a very full agenda.  Many issues will be covered on the relevant parts of the website but there are a couple I would like to highlight to all members:


The introduction of the Mempad system is gathering pace.  The first clubs are now using it to transfer results automatically for Master Points to be recorded and I know that many individual members are accessing their own accounts regularly.  However here are still a number of clubs who have not yet ‘signed in’ and therefore are no getting the benefits of the system.  In order to help people the team have identified champions in each District who will be able to explain the procedures and provide any other help required.  If in doubt please consult your district secretary or contact the Master Points office.


We are experimenting with a ‘virtual’ club for beginners who are not yet ready to play in clubs or tournaments.  Whilst we have had some ‘teething problems’ we are keen to extend this scheme nationally.  If you are involved with learners who have completed Level 2 or higher of the SBU course, or equivalent, please contact Ann Wickens.


The Member Services Committee has a big remit but one particular area of development is communicating with members.  As well as the SBU News – an excellent magazine that is outstanding value for money but not widely read – we will be looking at regular news based information for ALL members.  If you have any ideas on this please contact Russell Frame, who chairs the committee.


The Better Behaviour in Bridge campaign has received much support and the idea of the monthly theme has caught peoples’ interest – if you haven’t yet put these up in your club, there is still time to do so!


Finally I was delighted to report to Council that I had attended another excellent Highland Congress.  Also, as well as recognising the excellent performance of our team in Bali I gave a special “Thank you” to all of the people who worked so hard to support the team and raise money for them.  I was particularly delighted that our team got coverage on radio and press and it is only fitting that we should recognise Harry Smith’s work on this.


Mike ASH

SBU President