The Players

Alan Hill (NPC)

Alan, a retired University Lecturer, has been NPC of the Lady Milne team several times in the last few years. However, his association with Home Internationals goes back many years to the days of ‘Referees’ and he has much experience over the years as a TD. He enjoys reading – mostly thrillers – gardening and watching cricket and rugby. He is looking forward once again to captaining a team of which his wife is a member.

Florence Boyd

Florence is a retired Chemistry teacher. Her main interests are in the Arts, especially opera. She travels a lot, mainly in Europe now. This is her fifth Lady Milne competition each time playing with Shelagh.

Shelagh McCaughan

Shelagh has played in the Lady Milne team on four previous occasions. In addition to being an independent social work consultant and trainer, Shelagh is a craft artist with a studio in Project 24, Bangor and a stall in St George's Market, Belfast. She is a Dementia Champion and is proud to volunteer for Belfast Central Mission and the Alzheimer's Society. Shelagh is also a member of the Big Belfast Choir.

Clare Watson

Clare worked in Education but is now happily retired. She spends her time keeping fit, reading and walking. She has played many times in the Lady Milne with 5 different partners. She and Heather have been playing together over the last few years. Bridge is a big interest for her and she lives in hope of improving!

Heather Hill

Heather is a retired Maths teacher who keeps her hand in by working for the local examination board in several capacities. She is playing in her 6th Lady Milne - the fourth time with Clare. She enjoys travelling - in particular to visit her grandchildren in Boise, Idaho and Newcastle upon Tyne. There is also a week spent skiing in February and usually a cruise in the summer. Time is also spent walking, practising yoga and gardening.

Toni Sproule

Toni describes Bridge as one of the passions of her life having learned to play ‘some years ago’ while working in East Africa. She particularly likes the fact that the game can be played & enjoyed by so many and at so many differing levels, although she has yet to convince any of her three adult children of its merits! She is delighted to be playing in her 6th Lady Milne Trophy.

Dymphna Friel

Dymphna is a retired Civil Servant. Married to John she has two daughters and two grandchildren. She enjoys cooking and baking and the downside - eating. This is her 7th time playing in the Lady Milne and 5th with Toni.

Gwynn Davies (NPC)

Gwynn is a retired academic (University of Bristol Law School). He used to be a better runner than he is a bridge player (yes, hard to believe), winning multiple Welsh titles and representing Wales for over a decade, including in the Commonwealth Games. He enjoys teaching as well as playing bridge and writes a weekly column ('Cautious Bidder') that appears on various Welsh bridge websites. The second edition of his stories, Aberystwyth Boy, has recently been published and is available at an eye-watering discount to Scottish bridge players. He lives with Sue and the aforementioned cat.

Susan Ingham

This is Sue's seventh Lady Milne but her first in partnership with Charlotte, who is her daughter. It has been a long-standing ambition that they should play together in the Welsh team. Sue was a member of the Wales team that had the somewhat fortunate win in the event three years ago. When not playing bridge Sue enjoys playing the piano and she is also the occasional winner of the Sunday Times maths teaser. She has a new-found enthusiasm for cooking and (by way of compensation) for hill-walking. She lives in Cardiff with her partner Gwynn and their cat, Freddie.

Charlotte Ingham

This is Charlotte's first Lady Milne. She has been playing bridge once a week for over ten years at the Cardiff Bridge Club, steadfastly refusing to partner anyone other than her mother. She works as a page planner for a publishing group. Her interests include travelling, writing, and (slightly less frequently) running. Charlotte loves animals but only has one of her own - a cat called Oscar.

Maggie Pierce

Maggie has been persuaded to stay another year in partnership with the delightful Ceri (yes, she bought the wine…..) both are are looking forward to Edinburgh and the Scottish hospitality.

Retired some years now from I.T. support, she spends time entertaining, hacking around a golf course and (according to the offspring) spending their inheritance on yet another gap year. They didn’t exist when Maggie was a student.

Almost all ticked off the bucket list now – she can soon retire to gardening and building yet more bits onto her house.

Ceri Pierce

Ceri played in several Lady Milnes, many moons ago, before she ‘retired’ to bring up her three children. After a gap of over a decade, she has played for for Wales for the last three years and this is her second appearance with Maggie, who is her wicked step-mother.

Ceri lives in Somerset, having moved there from Cardiff 12 years ago. She teaches bridge and works in IT. She has tried to teach her children to play, but they have successfully resisted so far, preferring instead to be playing football, tennis, horse-riding or being plugged into an electronic gadget. Ceri has no hobbies of her own, apart from unplugging said children, which takes up most of her non bridge-playing time. She also enjoys a good curry and glass of wine.

Eleanor Price

Eleanor has many interests and a very understanding husband. Although it is her First Lady Milne appearance she has been a keen player ever since Bill Nicholls introduced her to the game.

Jennifer Wardell

This is Jennifer’s first Lady Milne competition. After a long and mainly happy career in Maths teaching Jennifer approached retirement with a degree of trepidation. However any worries proved to be completely unfounded as her bridge playing expanded greatly and enjoyably. In addition she has been lucky to travel to many distant places as well as spending more time with her family and friends.

Iain Sime (NPC)

Iain was a Chartered Tax Adviser with a blue chip law firm in Edinburgh. He retired last year, so has been able to devote more time to futile pastimes such as supporting the Scotland and Hearts football teams, and playing bridge. Regarding the latter, Iain is evidence of the perceived wisdom that if you want to be any good at this game, you have to learn to play bridge before you are 30. Despite being no good, Iain has been a regular in Scottish Camrose teams over most the past decade, which proves how great a player John Matheson must be........ or how easy it is to make it into the Scottish Camrose team.

Iain’s best bridge results have been when partnering John Murdoch. They won a European Senior bronze medal, reached the Quarter Finals of the D’Orsi Bowl in Bali, and in February won another bronze in the Commonwealth Nations Championship in Australia.

Since retiring, Iain has written a "Bronze to Silver" teaching course, aimed at providing the better bronze players with the knowledge to enable them to compete against tournament regulars. This has been well received with over 60 students attending weekly classes.

Anne Symons

Anne has been a regular member of the Scottish Ladies team for a number of years, playing in Lady Milnes, Europeans and Olympiads. She has also been part of the only women’s pair to play in the Camrose for Scotland. This is her fourth year playing with Helen and they were part of the team who won the Lady Milne in 2016, and also reached the semi-finals of the World Bridge Games in 2016. She still works part time as a pharmacist and enjoys classes at the gym when she has the time.

Helen Kane

I started playing bridge in my early twenties. Aside from Lady Milne wins and Scottish National Pairs titles, I consider my major bridge achievement to be reaching the semifinal of the 2016 World Games in Poland. This entitled the team to the wonderful experience of playing in the Hua Juan Cup in Beijing in 2017. My partnership with Anne began 4 years ago and this is now our 4th Lady Milne playing together. I took early retirement from my work as a Cytopathologist 5 years ago, and I now happily combine bridge with my other hobbies of piano playing, violin playing and walking. I live in Glasgow with my husband, Danny, and my dog, Jade.

Lucia Barrett

Lucia lives in Edinburgh with her husband, former bridge player and one-time Lady Milne npc Ian Crorie. Her daughter also appears in their home from time to time. She gave up her hairdressing business of 30 years and moved to part-time working recently. This frees up weekends and at last allows her to more fully commit to bridge events. She also started teaching bridge at the MBA club which almost feels like working full-time again.

Veronica Guy

Laura Middleton

I have played in one Lady Milne and look forward to another good weekend of bridge this time with Julia. We have been developing our system under the watchful eye of John Matheson to whom we are much indebted.

When I’m not playing bridge, I really enjoy teaching bridge and bringing new players into this great game. I am lucky to be involved with the New Melville bridge club in Edinburgh which has a constantly increasing membership bucking the trend of most clubs.

I live in Edinburgh with my husband Shaun and 2 dogs.

My other great passion also involves ‘hands’ - of the equestrian type! Fresh air and exercise riding Buddy (who is 15 hands) complement all the time spent indoors playing bridge.

Julia Palmer

Julia has background of working for, and providing management consultancy services for non profit organisations.

She started learning to play bridge just over ten years ago. Given her NPC says that to be any good you need to learn before you are 30, then there is clearly little hope for her! Despite this she has been trying to improve her bridge skills as a player and Tournament Director, and has recently joined the teaching staff at the Melville Bridge Academy.

Julia has participated in a large number of Scotland based home internationals, and the Glasgow Commonwealth Bridge Championships, where she undertook lead role in organising Vugraph. This, however, will be her first time as a player in such an event.

Julia and Laura are a new bridge partnership and have been working hard to prepare for the Lady Milne with support and advice from both Paul Gipson and John Matheson. We hope that we don't let them down!

Julia is looking forward to getting out on her new bike once the 2018 Lady Milne has concluded.

David Burn (NPC)

David was born in 1956 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He was educated Dulwich College and Caius, Cambridge, and is an IT consultant. He has played for England in 7 Camrose matches, 1 European Championships and 1 World Olympiad.

He coached Britain to Bermuda Bowl silver medal (1987) and victory in the European championships (1991), has coached the highly successful England Women's team over recent years, picking up numerous medals, including victory in the 2016 European Championships and silver medals in the 2013 and 2017 Venice Cups, and aided the Senior team in their victory in the 2014 European Championships. He has also acted as NPC for recent Camrose teams.

He is divorced with no children, and lives in London with a cat called Christopher Marlowe. He is a popular bridge journalists, writing his own columns and often ghost writing for Zia Mahmood. His other interests include reading, classical music, going to the theatre, and enjoying beer and curry.

David received the Diamond Award at the 2015 EBU AGM in recognition of his excellence and success over a sustained period for England's international teams.

Heather Dhondy

Heather was born in London in 1966. She lives in Dorset with her husband, Jeremy. Heather is a professional bridge player, teacher and writer. Heather's parents, Mike and Hazel Dunstan, both avid bridge players, introduced bridge to their teenage children, Heather, Cathy and Peter. The Dunstan children quickly absorbed the finer points of the game and enjoyed a high standard of Kitchen Bridge.

Heather soon graduated from the home game to the international scene. Her team from York University won the Portland Bowl and represented England in the Entente Cordiale in 1987. At York, she also acquired a Music degree and Heather still enjoys playing the piano.

At the age of 24, Heather began playing for the Ladies team. The highlights of Heather's international career occurred in 2008 and 2012 at the Mind Sports Games in Beijing and Lille where the England women won the Gold medal. She was also part of the winning England Women's team in the 2012 and 2016 European Championships, and Great Britain's winning team in the 1997, 1999 and 2001 European Championships. Heather also won the Silver medal in the Venice Cup in Bali in 2013 and European Championships in 2014, won the Bronze medal in the Venice Cup in 2015 and the Olympiad in Istanbul in 2004, and won the World Mixed Teams in Rhodes in 1996. In addition, she has won a record 13 Lady Milne trophies; eight of them partnering Sally Anoyrkatis, and five in partnership with Nicola Smith.

Heather fondly remembers her early days playing at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club. One of the first times that she played at the Club, she was sitting by herself at the bar looking through the hands when a kind, bearded fellow sat down. He offered witty and insightful comments about a few perplexing hands. Heather nearly worked up the courage to ask him for a game but in the end was too timid. David Burn eventually became a close friend and semi-regular partner. Together, they won the prestigious Brighton Pairs in 2001.

Heather continued to forge friendships and hone her bridge skills at the YC. In addition to David, she met and formed a successful partnership with Rob Cliffe with whom she won the Grand Master Pairs in 2004 and 2006, and the Premier Grand Master Pairs in 2007 and 2008. Undoubtedly, Heather's most significant and enduring partnership has been with Jeremy Dhondy. They married in 1992. The winners of the European Open mixed teams in Antalya 2007 and the Hubert Phillips Bowl (1997), Jeremy and Heather regularly play on several teams together.

Heather is a member of the EBU board, is current Chair of the Laws & Ethics Committee, and the Tournament Director Development Group, and has previously served as Chair of the EBU Selection Committee.

Sally Anoyrkatis

Alexandra Birchall

I am 24 years old and started playing bridge when I attended lessons at the Manchester Bridge Club from the age of 11. I later studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, where I started playing bridge more regularly. Since then, I have played in the Channel Trophy twice for the girls’ team and once for the U26 team. I was also on the team which won the bronze medal at the 2017 European Junior Teams in Slovakia, playing with Yvonne Wiseman. We’re currently training hard to improve on that performance at the World Junior Teams in 2018. I usually play several times a week, mostly at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club in London, as well as in various knockouts, leagues and congresses.

I currently work as a Senior Product Manager for Danbury Mint, selling collectables and jewellery. In particular, I manage all of the digital marketing for the UK division with a focus on Facebook, which I really enjoy because the technology is changing rapidly. Although most of my time is spent working or playing bridge, I also enjoy rock climbing and playing the piano.

Qian Li

I am 27 years old and started playing bridge as a complete beginner at Acol Bridge Club in 2015. Within a year, I gradually climbed up the ladder. From late 2016 I started to play more regularly at Young Chelsea Bridge Club in London and obtained some good results towards the second half of 2017. I was offered the opportunity to play in Lady Milne Trial early 2018 partnering Alexandra Birchall. Luck was with us, we finished second as a fresh partnership and got selected to play for Lady Milne Trophy in April 2018.

I am currently working as an Exotics Trader for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, trading from Credit Exotics to Complex Interest Rate Swaptions. Traders are known as having genes for taking massive risks and bluffing, I am actually spending extra effort to be recognized as a logical and solid player (well if on the table am going against the odds of the play it is not a matter of perversity. Most likely I just failed to recognize the superior line of play)

I am really into playing bridge and improving my bridge skill is the top priority apart from making a living. But when am not playing, I am a good cook especially for traditional Chinese dishes. I also play good table tennis if that helps relaxing my mind from bridge.

Heather Bakhshi

Claire Robinson

Claire is originally from Newcastle but has lived in London for many years. She is Head of Maths in a large London prep school. Claire learnt to play bridge originally over a lunch table in her previous career at the Bank of England but did not really take up the game until years later. She began actively playing in 2012 by first going along to duplicates at the Andrew Robson Bridge Club and avidly reading every bridge book she could find. Claire was soon addicted, playing bridge in every spare moment. She has even recently persuaded her mum to have a go and learn the game.

Claire formed a partnership with Heather Bakhshi in 2014 and they have been playing together ever since under the watchful eye of Heather’s husband and long-time England international, David and more recently Claire’s bridge-playing partner, John Atthey.

When not playing bridge Claire plays poker (Las Vegas is her favourite place in the world) and loves to swim fast and play tennis.

Alan Goodman (NPC)

I have played Camrose, European and Olympiad for Scotland's Open and Senior teams and captained a number of different Scottish teams over the last 10 years. I have enjoyed captaining Lady Milne teams over the last 5 years and look forward to captaining the Scotland team.

Abi Wilson

I started playing bridge at age 10, and am making my first Lady Milne appearance after leaving the Junior ranks at the end of 2017. I have played in several Peggy Bayer and Junior Camrose events since 2006, winning the Peggy Bayer in 2010. I've also appeared in the Junior European Teams and Pairs events twice each. This is my first venture with Sheila, and I am hoping to learn much from my vastly more experienced (and much more successful!) teammates.

I am looking at training to become a Physics teacher after graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and am fortunate enough to be getting married this November. Should I then be lucky enough to play in this event again, I will have the surname of Milne! (This irony is most certainly not lost on me).

Sheila Adamson

I have played in nine previous Lady Milnes, with my former partner Anne Symons, and I have four victories to my name. I have also been part of the Scottish Ladies Team at various European and World Bridge Games. This will be my first year playing with Abi Wilson – I’m hoping her youthful enthusiasm will rub off on me. I work in quality assurance of transnational education at Queen Margaret University and it has been many years since my family have been able to explain my job to anyone. I get to visit Greece. A lot.

Liz McGowan

I played my first Lady Milne in 1977, and this will be my 34th appearance, with my 9th partner. I have won 9 times, and would like to reach double figures, but I'm running out of time ...

Prior to 2000, I was a member of the British Women’s team, picked up silver medals at the 1988 and ’92 Olympiads and gold at the Europeans in ’97 and ‘99. I also won the 1996 World Mixed Teams with Heather Dhondy, and playing with Fiona we narrowly lost to France in the semi-final at the 2016 World Games in Poland.

I like to think of myself as a Bridge journalist; currently editing the ScottishBridgeNews for the SBU. I live in Edinburgh with husband Ian, two daughters, and much loved grand-daughter.

Fiona McQuaker

I played my first Lady Milne in Cheltenham, with Liz and we have played in a number of Scottish Ladies teams since then, including Olympiads, Europeans and the World Bridge Games in Poland in 2016, where we progressed to the semi-final and lost narrowly to France. Last October we travelled to China by invitation to play in the Beijing Hua Yuan Cup which was an excellent tournament. In June we will be playing in the European Championships in Ostend. I have one European bronze medal, won with Liz, Paula and Suzanne.

I am a chartered accountant, living and working in Edinburgh. I enjoy travelling, both within Scotland and abroad.

Sam Punch

I have played in the Scottish women’s team since 2008, winning the Lady Milne five times in the last nine years. Playing with Paula we narrowly lost to France in the semi-final at the 2016 World Games in Poland. This will be our fourth Lady Milne together. I’m Professor of Sociology and Dean of Graduate Studies at Stirling University, where I'm currently researching the Sociology of Bridge. This includes interviews with top UK and US players (appearing as a new series called ‘Bridge Encounters’ in the online Bridge Magazine), a project (with EBED) on well-being, social participation and bridge, and another study exploring gender and bridge. I have recently been involved in setting up the Bridge and Science Committee for the WBF, and working to establish the Sociology of Bridge as a new research field.

Paula Leslie

I started playing bridge at school in Dundee together with Suzanne Cohen (now Sheasby) with whom I have won a number of events over the years. I also have five bronze medals from various European events and my ambition is one day to win a gold or silver medal. Recent successes include reaching the semi-finals of the World Games in Poland in 2016 with Sam Punch, my partner for the Lady Milne. This will be my sixth Lady Milne (third with Sam).

I moved to London after university, qualified as a chartered accountant and now work as a tax adviser for a commercial property group. Outside of bridge, I enjoy pub quizzes, cinema, theatre and travel.

Terry Walsh (NPC)

Terry Walsh is a very senior Civil Servant (not in the Revenue – but close!!) He is a lover of opera and cricket (not very Irish) but he is a very experienced player who has played Camrose and Teltscher for Ireland on a number of occasions in the past. He is an experienced NPC – so the ladies are in very capable hands!

Gilda Pender

Gilda is another computer merchant – more Project Manager style – but she has the distinction of having been admiral of her own fleet – of ATMs!! This is Gilda’s third Lady Milne – she previously played with her sister, Noreen, in 2006 and with Hilary in 2014 & 2015

Hilary McDonagh

Hilary is a psychology lecturer, bridge teacher and worked for the CBAI at National Headquarters before retiring to Ballaghadereen to raise her family. She has represented Ireland extensively at Junior level and at numerous European ladies events. She achieved great success with Rebecca O’Keeffe winning every Irish ladies title and many open honours. She then developed a strong partnership with Anne-Marie Horan with whom she played on three Lady Milne teams; playing with Gilda, they have played in two European Championships, in Dublin in 2012 and in Croatia in 2014.

Joan Kenny

Joan is a retired Maths teacher from Ballinrobe who is now hooked on BBO. She would be very happy to “pull a pint” for any visitors to Galway in the family licensed premises – thus doing her bit for the returning diaspora! Joan has played on six previous Lady Milne teams, once with Brid Kirby, twice with Emer Joyce and thrice with Teresa, and on numerous European & World Championship teams.

Teresa Rigney

Teresa has "hung up her boots" after a long career as a teacher of Mathematics at a Dublin Secondary school for young ladies. With retirement has come a greater facility to relax, so detention for those who don’t know their system is no longer on the cards! She is a recent convert to things technical, like BBO, where she lets her husband Enda (or anyone else within range) do the setting up for her.

Teresa has played on six previous Lady Milne teams – once with Maureen Pattinson, twice with Heidi Lillis and thrice with Joan. She has also played on a Camrose team with the late Jill Kulchycky – one of only 2 ladies pairs involved in the Camrose in modern times; she also played with Jill in the European Championships in Croatia in 2014.

Lucy Phelan

Lucy is making her first appearance in the Lady Milne this year, although she is a seasoned campaigner at national and international level. Lucy has won many national titles with her husband, John – the most recent being the all- Ireland Pairs Championship on 8th April – where Anna finished in second spot!!

Anna Onishuk

Anna, originally from Russia, has lived in Ireland for 20 years now and works as an IT Consultant. She started playing bridge in Russia and after a two year break she continued playing in Ireland. She has won numerous national titles, open, ladies and mixed, and has played abroad in European Competitions. She is the only lady player to have represented the CBAI in both Camrose & Lady Milne events in the same season in the modern era. Anna has represented Ireland in the Lady Milne on two previous occasions, playing with Mary Lindopp.