"A great love of the game" spanning more than 50 years allows Pauline Erby to happily turn a blind eye to the cost of earning the prestigious Australian Bridge Federation title of Grand Master.
One competition at a time, one gold, red and green point at a time, Pauline played and travelled to congresses to accumulate 1000 points and earn the prestigious title of Grand Master.
"It's a lot of bridge, and a lot of money!" Pauline laughs. "I've just enjoyed it so much and I'd like to thank all of my partners over the years - you can't do it on your own."
Pauline describes Taree Bridge Club members as her 'Bridge Family', and on May 7 they gathered to celebrate her achievement, present her with a cake, a gift, and a certificate from the Australian Bridge Federation to recognise the achievement of Grand Master.
"It's wonderful to be able to honour Pauline, who with great personal sacrifice has got to the position of Grand Master, and that is phenomenal," Club president Sue Eishauser said.
"We share in that a little bit because she is ours, and we are very proud."
Taree Bridge Club in Pitt Street is where Pauline and around 70 members meet about three times a week to play bridge, "a trick game", as Pauline describes it, and she says, "it's a wonderful way to fill an afternoon."
It's an amazing game as no two hands are ever the same, and the people are great.Pauline Erby
"You make a lot of friends and keeps your brain active. It taxes your mind, you have to concentrate the whole time - you're counting and you've got to watch four suits."
Pauline reveals her enjoyment of playing card games comes from a childhood of watching her parents play, and then playing cards with her husband and friends.
"I grew up on cards, playing euchre and 500 as my parents always played cards because in those days that was your entertainment, playing cards at home.
"When I got married my husband and I played bridge every week with a group of friends for about 30 years.
"I'd go and play with the girls one night a week, and my husband would play with the boys one night a week.
Once a month we'd get together and have a dinner party and a night of bridge, and we used to play until two in the morning! I couldn't do that now! It was social but the cards were paramount.Pauline Erby
"There are not many of us left from that group, but it was great."
Taree Bridge Club is keen to increase its member numbers and Pauline says lessons on how to play bridge are held every Thursday.
"It takes a while to learn, but it is worth it, and it truly is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon."
For further information contact Taree Bridge Club on 6551 0091.
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