I am sorry to report that Pat Tuff (de Leeuw) passed away on Thursday 19th October after struggling with health problems for over a year.
Pat hailed from Sheffield, but came to the North East in the early seventies. I first knew her in 1973 when I went to work at Marden High School, where she was Head of Girls’ PE. A group of staff at the School played bridge at lunchtimes and we used to watch them. Our interest in the game grew, and Pat signed up for classes held by Roy and Barbara Hurst in Gosforth. She passed me the notes she received, and we began to play together. The first time we ventured to a Bridge Club was to play in a Saturday session at Whitley Bay, but the experience so frightened us that it was several months before we summoned up sufficient courage to play there again. In those early days we most often went to the newly formed Cramlington Bridge Club, occasionally venturing to Brunton Bridge Club and to Stocksfield Bridge Club. We were too timid to go to Whitley Bay Bridge Club on Thursdays, because - we were told – that was when the good players were to be found there!
Later, Pat joined Whitley Bay Bridge Club, and was a prominent member there for over 40 years, winning many of the Club’s competitions. In 1985 she married Victor de Leeuw, one of the strongest players ever to grace Whitley Bay Bridge Club, and together they ran classes which were instrumental in bringing new players to the Club - many of whom became loyal members. Pat and Victor also ran successful and enjoyable Bridge Breaks in Harrogate and Ripon.
Pat and Victor played in a number of competitions, often teamed up with Brian Marlow and Ajit Shivdasani. They won the teams event at the Scarborough Congress, and were successful in the Isle of Man Congress. Pat was also to be seen at many NEBA events. Amongst her successes were the Congress teams in company with me , Robert Stead and Chris Robinson; the Kempson Vases in 2010 (again in partnership with me, and teamed with Robert Stead and Andrew Cornish); the Gazette Cups last year playing with Andrew Cornish; and most recently she and Andrew were runners-up in the Deane Salver in February of this year.
Pat contributed greatly to bridge, particularly in the Whitley Bay and Tynemouth area; she will be sadly missed.