The History of the Richmond Contract Bridge Club 

In the early 1980’s the Council started the Richmond Community Education programme and Madge Johnston was appointed a member of the organising committee for the programme. Madge saw a need for more activities in Richmond. She presented a proposal to include bridge lessons in this community scheme, which was approved. Two inspirational tutors Cath Flower and Betty Bromwich taught the course and as a result twenty four keen players met to establish their own club in Richmond on the 5th August, 1983.

They formed a committee. The first president was Anneke Buutveld and the secretary was Madge Johnston (Madge was to serve in this role for the next 28 years). The foundation club members played in various buildings around Richmond such as the council chambers, school halls, libraries, music rooms and at Oakwoods retirement village.

Richmond affiliated with the Canterbury Bridge Association in 1988, established trophies within the club and began running its own tournaments. The club moved into the computer age with a donated machine in 1991. This computer was quickly replaced by a laptop in 1992.

The Club’s steadily increasing membership and bank balance prompted the members to look around for permanent rooms. A nearby resident and past mayor of Nelson, Peter Malone suggested the committee have a chat with the Richmond Croquet Club. He then came up with the proposal to lease land from the A&P Association. The result was the formation of the Richmond Bridge and Croquet Centre.

Luckily community grants were readily available in the 1990s, and when combined with the Bridge Clubs savings and the Croquet Clubs share of the development, the club rooms were built. On 9th March 2000 the first games were played in the club rooms with the official opening of the centre being held on the 26th April of that year.