The Gazette - November 2020

Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.


On the 11th of October BCA member Ed Green was living the high life in the skies over Northamptonshire! In his own words, he “threw himself out of a perfectly serviceable aeroplane” and did a tandem skydive from 10,000 feet. The jump was in aid of New College Worcester and Ed raised over £7000! You’ll be relieved to know that Ed landed safely so let’s congratulate him on his courage and his fine achievement!

Sadly, when we get back to playing over the board chess one of our four-legged friends will not be joining us. John Osborne’s guide dog, Bradley, seemingly couldn’t cope with the Covid-19 adjustments in his locality. Bradley also had some health issues and so the decision was taken to retire him. John tells me that Bradley could be quite a character at times and it’s obviously a tremendous blow to have to part from him in this way. We too will miss Bradley at BCA events, where he was always impeccably behaved. Fortunately, John has also had a happy occasion in his life lately as he and his wife, Miriam, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary on 21st October. Belated congratulations from all your BCA friends!

Our delightful queen of the BCA raffle, Moira Whittle, had a difficult start to the year when she took a tumble and broke her arm back in February. I’m delighted to report that Moira’s injury has healed well and she is now looking forward to marking her 80th birthday on the 16th of November. Last year, Moira’s birthday coincided with the BCA Autumn Tournament and lots of us were able to wish her many happy returns in person. She told me what an enjoyable occasion that was for her and how much she has missed meeting up with BCA friends this year. She’s looking forward to the next get together, whenever that may be, so that she can start charming raffle money from us again – all in a good cause, of course! Alas, like many birthdays in 2020, this one is likely to be fairly quiet for Moira, so let’s all send warmest wishes for her special day!

Finally, our Coaching and Junior Development Officer, Voldi Gailans, also has an impending milestone birthday. He will turn 70 on the 2nd of December! Voldi has been a stalwart member of the BCA for many decades. He is a true gentleman who embodies all that is best about our association. When playing chess, he is always magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat. He also does a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to promote Braille chess and this may have escaped the notice of some members. Voldi is truly passionate about our game and his enthusiasm is infectious. The number of people who’ve recently joined us as a result of Voldi’s coaching initiatives is proof of that! Even Covid-19 hasn’t deterred him. As I write he is planning to start chess tuition for a VI junior via Zoom! However, while some members might not be aware of what a fine ambassador the BCA has in Voldi, anyone lucky enough to have attended a BCA soirée will be in no doubt as to how much energy he generously expends for the enjoyment of others! From his thespian talents which have been put to good use on a murder mystery evening, to his rich singing voice, Voldi always delights his audience! So let’s give Voldi a special cheer and round of applause as he turns 70 years young next month! We know that Voldi’s family, including his wife Clare, daughters Geraldine and Natalie, and granddaughter Poppy, will make Voldi’s birthday as special as possible in this tricky pandemic year, but we hope that additional good wishes from many BCA friends will be a little bit of extra icing on Voldi’s cake!

Do let me know if you have any news for the next issue!

Julie Leonard