80-year-old bridge player dies after rare hand


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The Independent Online

An 80-year-old bridge player died at the table shortly after winning a game with a 1-in-150,000 hand of cards.

Wendy Brown, 80, who was Cornwall's highest ranked player, had just scored 29 points in the game when she collapsed.

Friend Barrie Benfield, of the Cornwall Contract Bridge Association, told the Western Daily Press: “In effect she played this remarkable hand and collapsed and died immediately afterwards.

“I haven't seen a 29-point hand, if ever, or certainly not for a very long time. I can't remember seeing one with more points than that in the past 18 years or so.

“Wendy will no doubt have been extremely excited by getting such a hand. My theory is that she couldn't take the excitement.”

He said Mrs Brown, a grandmother of 12, had not been in good health “so her death did not come as too much of a shock”.

“It's very sad but what a way to go. It's the perfect bridge player's death,” he said. “Wendy did things in style and this was her way of reminding us that she still played a terrific game.”

Her son Charlie, who said a blood vessel near her heart had failed, said other players had “responded magnificently” and tried to revive her when she collapsed at John Betjeman Centre in Wadebridge on Tuesday last week. Paramedics were called but it is thought she was dead when they arrived.

“When all is said and done, it was a lovely way to go,” her son said. “I can imagine the smile on her face when she looked at her cards and she knew she had a winning hand. She died doing what she loved to do.”