In the early 1960s, Judy was a young mother living with her husband in Mackay. She and some neighbours wanted to learn to play Bridge. In the absence of a Bridge club, or a Bridge teacher, Judy was nominated to learn Bridge from a book and teach the others. Driven by a desire to create a Bridge community near her, Judy rose to the challenge and began learning and teaching. She was an inaugural member of the Mackay Bridge Club when it was established over 50 years ago.
Judy’s husband, David, was transferred to Maryborough where, again, she found there was no Bridge Club. Fortified by her experiences in Mackay, Judy set about making local contacts who wanted to play. Soon she was the driving force behind the establishment of the Maryborough Bridge Club. Judy’s skills and abilities became known to the Queensland Bridge Association (QBA). The QBA recommended that towns wanting to set up a Bridge Club should contact Judy. She has been integral to the setting up and expansion of a number of Queensland clubs, particularly Bundaberg and Rockhampton Clubs. She visited these clubs to teach Bridge and support their efforts to become affiliated with QBA and ABF. Returning to Brisbane in 1970, Judy was asked to be the Secretary of the QBA.
Judy came to my attention because I am the editor of Trump.It, the newsletter of the Arana Contract Bridge Club. Our long term member, Pam Horton, had been telling me I needed to write a story on Judy who led the establishment of our Bridge club. Judy, using her well-honed skills, began teaching in Ferny Hills. Her first teaching venue was her home. As learner numbers expanded, Judy moved the group to a local hall and, finally, we were able to buy our own Bridge Club. Our building is fittingly named after Judy Valentine.
Based on all her years of teaching, Judy’s grateful students pushed her to publish her lessons and examples. The book, Teaching my Way, is still used to teach beginners the joys of Bridge. When I asked Judy had she received an OBE for her thousands of hours of volunteer work she said with a laugh “the only OBE I’ll get is the one you get for being Over Bloody Eighty”.
Dr. Kathleen Le Voi
Editor Arana Contract Bridge Club Newsletter.