by Helen Holt
Eileen Lyon is coming up trumps at the bridge table.
At 99, the Geraldine woman is still racking up impressive scores at the Geraldine and Temuka bridge clubs, and featuring in the top four in more than half her games.
After 50 years playing the game, Mrs Lyon said she just cannot give it up.
“I’ve met so many friends through bridge.”
Temuka Bridge Club secretary Shona Stoddart said Mrs Lyon was a competitive player.
“In the last week Eileen had two seconds and a notable win in Geraldine where the score was an impressive 67.14%.”
Mrs Lyon was the Temuka bridge champion in 2002, which was described as a rare and great achievement for someone her age.
Mrs Lyon – who turned 99 on Tuesday – has played bridge for the Temuka club for 50 years and was a founding member of the Geraldine Bridge Club 47 years ago.
She was a lovely person, Mrs Stoddart said.
“Eileen will always remember. She remembers everyone’s name, and always smiles. I have never once seen her get cross,” Mrs Stoddart said.
Geraldine Bridge Club member Pam Kippenberger said Mrs Lyon was a real lady.
“Just so nice and friendly. I’ve never heard her gossip about people.
“As a player, I believe she thinks out every turn, and plays her cards incredibly well.”
Mrs Lyon originally started playing 50 years ago with her late husband Don, after her friends convinced her to go to to a bridge class in Temuka.
As a loyal bowls player, she was afraid of joining too many activities. However, in no time she was hooked on the game.
She gave up bowls recently for health reasons, so she was grateful to still be able to play bridge.
As a child she had played card games such as 500, which she believed set her up for success.
“I think it is easier to learn how to play bridge if you’re familiar with other card games.”
The winning bridge player has a set of cards at their house, and invites people over for a game as a way to meet new people in the town.
On Monday, Mrs Lyon said she could not believe she was turning 99.
“I am so thankful to have good health.”
She was looking forward to a family lunch on Tuesday, which all three of her children would attend, and a supper at the Geraldine Bridge Club today.
Mrs Lyon was exceptional, Mrs Stoddart said.
“I just hope, if I’m fortunate enough to live to that age, that I have half the reasoning and logic that Eileen has.”