We send our thanks and best wishes to Valerie Mathers, who has retired from the CBAI’s Head Office after twenty years of dedicated service. Valerie was the first employee to join the CBAI to work alongside the then General Secretary, now Chief Executive, and has played a very important part in the success and development of the Association ever since.

After twenty years, anything Valerie doesn’t know about the operation of the CBAI, in particular the membership database, which she manages, is simply not worth knowing. She is also well known as “the voice on the end of the phone” with information and guidance for members, officers, clubs, and regions, and all too often went above and beyond the normal hours to ensure dedicated and efficient service to our customers. She has also always been very generous with her time in bringing new staff members up to speed on the workings of the CBAI, most recently our newest recruit, Eimer Beirne, to whom she has been providing tuition, initially via Zoom, and more recently in the office at the appropriate social distance.

In more normal times, we would recognise Valerie’s retirement with a presentation and photographs, perhaps at one of our national competitions. In the current climate, only her immediate colleagues will be able to mark her retirement in person. But if anyone from the extended bridge family would like to wish Valerie well, please let us know and we will pass on a message or put you in contact with her directly. She has promised to remain available to give us the benefit of her knowledge and experience, for a while at least. Aside from that, Valerie is a keen reader and singer, has a second career as a tour guide to Dublin and its environs, and has recently taken up Tai Chi, as she demonstrated on RTE a few weeks back. She may also be able to enjoy the odd game of bridge, whenever we get back to the table, without being inundated by requests and jobs to do.

Thanks for everything Valerie, and best wishes for a long and happy retirement.

Valerie has composed this poem to reflect on her (mainly pleasurable) time working with the Association. You may or may not recognise some of the individuals referred to therein!