Founding of the Club.

A students' Bridge Club seems to have been running since the early 90s at least, in its earliest years at Toscamar.The aim of this club was to bring students up to a standard in 3/4 years that would be acceptable to the Javea Bridge Club-JBC- and enable them to become members of that club. Lena Whiteley was giving the lessons there: Keith was a student by 1990, Maria Teresa by 1992 and Audrey Bridger in 1993. The Javea Bridge Club also played there.Lena's students were only allowed to play at the main club once Lena reckoned their play was at a high enough level. But they were allowed to play in July & August when attendance was low! An individual's standard was eventually assessed by Lena who would then recommend their suitability [or not] to become members of the JBC. This was considered by some students to be a rather strange procedure, especially when someone coming to live in the area was warmly invited to join the JBC without the club knowing the first thing about the person's standard of play!! The fact that students had to pay for their lessons often resulted in long apprenticeships!. But Lena was a very good teacher and gave the students an excellent introduction and foundation into the game of bridge.

The history of JSBSC could be said to have started in 1994 when it was a ‘Studio’ run by Lena Whiteley and Ted Sherry to teach students the basics of bridge. At the start of 1994, changes at Toscamar had meant that the Students' group had to find an alternative venue. Many members of the JBC and the students' group were also members of the Javea Computer Club, JCC, whose venue at the Magpie Bar in the Port had become too small. Eventually agreement was reached that all 3 clubs would operate out of Pedro's bar/restaurant , near Mas & Mas and Barclay's bank.   Thus the students started playing at Pedros - alongside the Javea Bridge Club but separately.   Lena  and her husband Michael went to Australia and left the Studio in the care of Ted Sherry who  enrolled Jean Smith and Malcolm Harris into teaching.  Unfortunately Michael became ill and they were delayed in Australia.  When they came back Lena was horrified to see the way the students were being taught ( very well, in fact, but different from her method)  and that some of them were even going to the JBC without her permission.   At the 1994 annual summer tournament she announced that she was closing the Studio down.   Great consternation followed, and, to cut a long story short, Pat French enlisted the help of Malcolm Harris and Jean Smith  who agreed to carry on teaching  in September. 

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Jo & Pat French, Barry & Carol Saunders

  In the meantime the students continued to play friendly tournaments, some of the JBC members coming along to support them. Pedro was very pro students and anti Lena and he was very helpful in giving Pat, and her helpers, time to pay the rent and organise tournaments through the summer.  For the first year at least , the newly named Javea School of Bridge and Social Club was purely a teaching group with occasional tournaments: everyone attended lessons on a Monday and/or a Thursday and there was a tournament on a Sunday. Pat was very instrumental in keeping the group going. Teachers in the period 1995-1999 were Eric & Jean Smith, Malcolm Harris, Barbara Kraft, Ted Sherry & Judith O'Reardon. In 1999, just before the move, Jean Smith taught the beginners & 2nd years, Judith the intermediate classes. From the many press cuttings that Bernard saved from this era, Maria Teresa & Jackie Bellward, secretary, were very active in the advancement of the club. Many members gave cups for tournaments, often in memory of their partners: these cups now languish, mainly unpresented each year, in a cupboard in the JSBSC. But the Lena Whiteley Cup is still awarded annually to the best - on the day! - student pair. Sue Mercer was in charge of publicity. Also Maria Teresa started her annual Aspadis tournament - for a Valencian home for disabled children, in these early years

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Pedro, the man himself

Press Cuttings & Photos of this era

The JBC was also very helpful in letting the JSBSC use their equipment.  It was a very successful venture and although there were certain differences between the two groups they carried on side by side for a while.  After the first year Pat French  handed over, in 1995, to Alan McGuire who carried on in the same way for 3/4 years . At some stage Pedro increased the rent paid by the JBC - due to unpleasant treatment received by him from some of its members - so they decided to look for a new venue, which they found at Balcon al Mar. At this stage, for the first time, overtures were made to the Students Group to become affiliated with the JBC and move with it to its new venue, and a similar invitation was extended to the JCC. But both these clubs had an excellent working relation with Pedro and saw no reason to leave, and thus declined the invitation. By this time the group was getting more and more successful . Others, still at our club today in 2013, who joined near its conception were Maggie Harris, Ann Mould, Peter Stokes, Judith O'Reardon, Bernard & Veronica, Mark, of course with his wife Val, Nancy & Gwyneth, Vera, Peggy, Finita,. . . .

The students supported Pedro by all having a Paella Lunch on the first Monday of each month before playing. At the end of 1999 Pedro announced that he was giving up the restaurant business and so the club, along with the JCC, had to find new premises by the end of September 2000. After a successful search, our present building was found: funds were raised for its purchase by asking members for loans - to be repaid over a period, 3-5 years?, at an interest rate of 6%. One or two members contributed sizeable sums, notably Ted Sherry, who, incidentally, was also a thirsty beer drinker & had his own engraved glass  beer mug.. The Computer Club was a vital source of revenue in those early days: they paid their rent up front at the start of each year.

Ann & Audrey remember that they had  high old times both at Pedros and then at the Arenal Club. There were many social events, including pantomimes, Christmas parties, trips to Majorca , Benidorm Palace, Valencia Opera, the New Year concert at the Palau, Altea, many arranged by Maria Teresa and Audrey . Ann remembers Lena Whiteley as a formidable but good player and teacher.

Photos of Pantomimes & Shows

Early Arenal Years

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