The quiet hall at Milnerton library lulls one into thinking it’s empty, so it’s surprising when you enter to find it full of people hunched over tables, deep in concentration – they are playing bridge, “the world’s most popular partnership card game”.
This year the Milnerton Bridge Club celebrates its 30th anniversary.
From its humble beginnings in a living room, the club has grown to 70 members who meet every Thursday and partner up for a game.
Lea Scheffer, the chairwoman of the Milnerton bridge club for the last five years, speaks in a low voice so as not to disturb the players.
Originally from Holland, Ms Scheffer and her husband, Max, often visited friends in Cape Town.
Some of these friends were the founders of the club.
“Avriel Abrahams started it and she had a little bell that she used to ring when the game was over. Then there was also Zelda Stettler and Miems Basson who were some of the original members. If you won the game you got a Sweetie Pie,” said Ms Scheffer with a giggle.
Describing the club as special and “more of a family than a club,” she says it’s all about having contact with other people.
“Most of the players are seniors, and a lot of them are lonely. The club gives them a chance to dress up and socialise.”
Members play from 1.15pm to 4.15pm every Thursday with a break in between filled with sandwiches, cake, tea and coffee.
They enjoy Christmas parties and are often sponsored with vouchers from the shops at the Paddocks shopping centre, which Ms Scheffer says she is very grateful for.
“When I was young, I used to think bridge was for old people, but it’s not. It’s so beneficial because it keeps your mind young. It helps with memory and concentration. It teaches you ethics and discipline and teamwork. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have invested millions into teaching the game to youngsters even though Bill has admitted himself that he’s not the best player,” laughs Ms Scheffer.
The club’s oldest member is ninety-year-old Wurli Langerman.
“I’ve played all my life. I have to use my brain a little bit,” said Ms Langerman.
Ms Scheffer said she was happy to teach pupils from schools in the surrounding areas such as Joe Slovo Park, how to play the game.
* Call Ms Scheffer on 021 551 9035 or 079 051 0716 or go to www.milnertonbridgeclub.co.za for details.