News Jan./Feb. 2017



It is with great sadness that I report the death of Stan Payne. I have known Stan for nearly 60 years. This is because he worked with my father and many times on a Saturday morning I would go with my father to his works and at Saturday lunchtime play a game of table tennis with Stan. He was a good sportsman until he contracted spondylitis although he still remained a difficult person to beat on the golf course.

Then in 1966 a firm called Dufay Bitumastics based in Shildon County Durham purchased amongst many other companies the firm at which Stan and my father worked. Stan moved up to the head office as Works manager in the same year and my father as  works director in 1967.

Stan had been playing some bridge at Newton Aycliffe a non affiliated club where he played with a young Julian Gibson for about 10 years. Some people might remember some of the other players Bill and Madge Gerrard, Harry Harding and David Rhodes.At this time he Stan and my father became bridge partners and were soon playing for Darlington's first team in what was then called the Inter Area and is now the Inter  Club. Stan became Treasurer of the Darlington club following myself in that role and I became the auditor.

In his bridge playing career Stan had some notable victories. Together with my father Peter Sykes and John Bagshaw they won the Kempson Cup in the days when around 30 teams entered the competition,this year sadly only five have entered. Shortly after that success my father sadly died on a business trip to the Far East.

Stan then had a long partnership with Harry Harding and undoubtedly the greatest success they had was winning the Northern Pairs. He was also a regular attendee at the Peebles Congresses when he usually played with David Rhodes and indeed won the Congress teams in a large and strong field the very first time the Scottish Bridge Union played at the Peebles Hydro.

It was not only at the bridge table that Stan contributed to the bridge scene in the North East in the days before duplimating  machines hands had  to be pre-dealt and the Hurworth  Congress attracted 48 tables with a waiting list. Stan would deal and record all the boards. I have never seen cards shuffled so vigourously.

In the mid 1970s Hurworth had become the largest club in South Durham and my father and Stan played in their first team. The Darlington club had to move premises and were struggling with their numbers. The secretary at the time was Ken Green who also worked at the same firm as Stan and my father. Some hard work was put in to persuade Hurworth members many of whom were relative beginners to play at two clubs and the happy ending was that both clubs were successful. Stan was most helpful in achieving this success.

Stan had a very happy home life with a charming wife Olive a local headmistress and a daughter Carol. Unfortunately Olive died after a particularly unpleasant muscular problem. Stan made many visits to the United States to visit relatives. He unfailingly sent letters and postcards to our family telling us what was happening over there. This was particularly welcomed by my mother.

Amongst other partners he played with were Colin Lambert, Eric Knight, Ken Pattison and latterly Bev Godfrey at Bridge With Lunch.

Stan was a highly competitive individual but always treated his opponents with appropriate respect.He became quite frail 2/3 years ago and an unfortunate incident made him decide to 'hang up his bridge boots'.

When you have known and been friends with someone for 60 years it is difficult to encapsulate his life in a few sentences. What I can say without fear of contradiction is that my life has been enriched by his friendship.

Clive Owen

Stan's funeral is on Monday, 9 January at the Wear Valley crematorium in Coundon.