We have recently learned that Helen Thompson, a talented & visionary Cairns
member for over 40 years, (1975-2016), died in her 80th year.
Helen’s contribution to bridge in Far North Queensland is unparalleled.
She was on the Management Committee of the Cairns Club in various roles for
over 20 years. She was President for 6 terms – 1993-95, when she managed
the extension of the clubhouse, and 2003-05. Helen was Masterpoint Secretary
in the days when awards were calculated manually every 3 months. In the
1990s she introduced computer scoring to the Club and published the Club’s
first newsletter (Trumpit). She taught at all levels and trained new directors.
Helen was the Club’s first Congress Director and was subsequently a State
Director. She ran many congresses in Cairns and directed events in Townsville,
Tablelands and at the Gold Coast Congress. She directed the popular New Year
Tablelands Congress from 2006-2010.
Helen successfully negotiated for Cairns to join the Barrier Reef Congress in
rotation with Townsville and Mackay Clubs. She was Convenor for Cairns first
BRC at the Colonial Club Resort in 1997 and for the 2006 event at the Casino.
Helen had a strong interest in all the Far North Queensland bridge clubs. She
was Secretary of the QBA Northern Zone for many years prior to 2012 when
the Zone included Townsville, Cairns and Tableland Clubs. In the early 1980s
she assisted the then successful social bridge clubs in Tarzali and Atherton to
affiliate with the QBA and ABF and ran bridge lessons in both clubs. (The Tarzali
Club subsequently moved to Malanda as the Eacham Bridge Club and is now
the Malanda Bridge Club). As Zone Secretary Helen retained a membership of
all these clubs. Helen, a teacher, was very keen to introduce and teach bridge
into “activity time” in schools but these efforts were largely thwarted by the
Queensland Education Department that considered bridge as gambling.
Helen was a strong player, achieving Grand Master status. She was very well
read and enjoyed strong competitions. Her name features many times on the
Club Championship Honour Boards and she regularly represented the Club and
Zone in state and national finals.
Helen came from New York State and travelled widely after her tertiary
education. She settled in Far North Queensland in the early 1970s after
meeting her future husband Trevor, both on holiday, in PNG. She subsequently
gained a teaching qualification and worked as an English teacher until her
retirement. She was already an accomplished bridge player, having learned at
home from her mother and aunt.
Helen’s other interests included music and acting. She had a close involvement
with Cairns Little Theatre as a director and actor, and she shared her fine
mezzo soprano voice with us at Club Christmas parties. She was also an
accomplished pianist. She is acknowledged for translating Pietro Forquet’s
Bridge Classic “Bridge with the Blue Team” from the Italian.
Helen is survived by Trevor, her husband of 47 years.
Contributed by Andrew Hooper, Joy Trigg, Malcolm Wyburn and Pamela