We are sad to announce the death, on 28th June 2009, of Freddie North, one of the last surviving giants of the rubber bridge era as well as a very popular bridge teacher and writer.
Frederick Lumsden North was born in Southsea in 1921. His father had been an officer in the First World War and Freddie followed in his footsteps, joining a young soldiers’ battalion at the age of 17. He was commissioned into the Queen’s Royal Regiment in 1941, promoted to Captain in 1943 and to Major in January 1945. After demobbing in November 1946, Freddie went on to the Imperial Service College (later amalgamated with Haileybury). In his youth, he had been a proficient rugby player as well as an accomplished race rider.
Freddie North was one of the first bridge professionals of post-war England. In 1950, he opened The Sussex School of Bridge, which flourished until his retirement in 2000. From the mid-70s until his retirement, Freddie also worked for P&O, organising and running bridge on cruise ships. In over fifty years of playing and teaching bridge, Freddie North also contributed regular columns to most of the English bridge magazines, and wrote over twenty bridge books, some in collaboration with the great Jeremy Flint. His elegant style of writing, lucid and gently humorous, endeared him to tens of thousands of readers and students.
Although primarily a very successful high-stakes rubber bridge player, Freddie North also excelled at duplicate bridge, becoming one of the EBU’s first Grand Masters. He won his first national title in 1948, The Sydney Woorward Cup, playing with Peter Heywood. He won the National Pairs in 1952 in partnership with Chris Hunt, The Field Cup in 1958 opposite the great Maurice Harrison-Gray, and The Daily Telegraph Cup four times (1950, 1955-56, 1963 and 1967). In tandem with John Pugh, Freddie won the Pachabo twice (1959 and 1962) representing Sussex CBA, of which he was President for nearly thirty years from 1972. They also won the Gold Cup in 1962, playing with Harrison-Gray, Rockfelt and the Sharples brothers, and Crockfords in 1967 with Louis Tarlo and Claude Rodrigue as team-mates.
Freddie represented Great Britain in the World Pairs Olympiad of 1962 and 1966, and played with Dimmie Fleming in the 1962 World Pairs. He also represented England in several Camrose matches in the late 1950s and 1960s.
Freddie North lived in Sussex, together with his wife, Margaret, and their dog, Sasha. He kept writing until the end; always the polished professional, he was preparing his next set of articles for English Bridge when pneumonia and a previously undiagnosed lung cancer brought a swift end to his long and busy life.
Our sympathies go to Margaret and Freddie’s family. He will be sorely missed by all his friends and readers.