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I have a beautiful Siberian Elm tree at the bottom of my garden.  It is tall and strong, holds its leaves until the 1st week in January and comes back into leaf in mid April What has all this to do with bridge? Thirty years ago I bought a number of unusual tree seeds and sowed them. They were not well nurtured. I was busy raising my family, working etc. One was the Siberian Elm. It survived my children sledging over it when it was a sapling. As a young tree, it survived my son’s early efforts at strimming when it was regularly decapitated.

My hope is that the current initiatives in schools will produce many young strong bridge players, not now but in later years when they remember how much they enjoyed bridge in school and come back, not at retirement age but when finishing studies with plenty time to mature into strong players. A few may develop as junior players.

The eight week course of minibridge in primary schools is simply a taster. It sows the seeds. It is generating enthusiasm and excitement about bridge. We plan to follow this with three short courses in bridge for secondary pupils- the transplanting stage.

We do not have the manpower in bridge to teach and develop every child. Up until recently a few children have been taught bridge, mainly in private schools where bridge has to compete with the many other activities on offer. This ignores a huge reservoir of the population. We can sow lots and lots of seeds and hope that some survive with a little nurturing.

The present initiative requires many bridge players giving up 8 hours per year. Great teaching skills are not imperative. Groups of tutors work as a team. The theme of each lesson is conveyed in one or two short sentences. The rest of the hour is playing. The ability to watch over one table and keep them right about bridge rules and occasionally go over hands is the requirement.

With many of our players participating we could reach almost half the school population. How many would grow to strong players?  1% would be an amazing number.

Can you help us sow the seeds?

Contact your education convener today.

Ann Wickens