Nomadic bridge club finds home

ACE:(L to R) Betty Brown, Jenny Vartha, Julia Hall, Daphen Jenkins, Peter Tompkins and Janet Stokes, members of the Bishopdale Bridge Club at their new home. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

After being nomadic for more than six years, the Bishopdale Bridge Club has found a home.

With the opening of the Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre, the club feels like it has finally settled down, president Janet Stokes said.

Prior to the February 22, 2011, earthquake, the 40-year-old bridge club has “been wandering”, Mrs Stokes said.

The club left the former Bishopdale Library on Farrington Ave and moved down a few houses into St Margaret’s Presbyterian Church just before the quakes.

But it had to move again after an arson attack last May caused $2 million in damage to the church, and the club lost all its equipment.

Since the fire, the club has been using space in Riccarton provided by the Crockfords Bridge Club.

She said the Riccarton club had been most accommodating, but it was good for the older members, who found it difficult to travel, to be back in Bishopdale.

“We’re just thrilled to be back in the local Bishopdale area,” she said.

Earlier this year, the club was approved a grant of $3000 by the Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board to replace its equipment. Mrs Stokes said the club has been able to purchase new specialist tables, table cloths and equipment with the grant.

The club’s 70 members, mostly aged over 70-years-old, now meet regularly in the “fresh”, new environment. Mrs Stokes said it feels good to be part of the wider rejuvenation of Bishopdale. “The whole area is going through a buoyant regeneration. It doesn’t feel old and tired anymore,” she said.