September 26, 2023

The Quarterly Bridge Newsletter of Online Bridge Which Enters Its Fourth Year…..

Readers mail…
From Colin Pearson….

Originally set up in March 2020 to cope with COVID the TRNC Online Bridge club Islandsbc has continued to prosper and expand and now averages 5 tables on Friday and Saturday writes Colin Pearson. Membership which is free is open to anyone who resides or visits the TRNC. The Monday Face to Face club at the Korineum Golf Club has continued to prosper with 3-4 tables each week prior to the return of the swallows in April.

This year we also have a special event for Thursday 18 May 2023 when we will be holding a Swiss Teams event to be held at the Korineum Golf Club. At least 8 Teams have entered so far, and this will be the first time such an event has taken place, and which will be a chance for those who have left the TRNC to meet up with old friends. There will be trophies for the winning Teams and if anyone is still interested in playing there may still be room to accommodate another partnership/Team. Please contact

If you are wanting to know where to play Bridge in the TRNC, below is a chart of where when, and who to contact.

This quarter we focus on two of our regular bridge players – Brian Lawrence and Mike Bezzant. In addition, we have the Hall of Fame for 2022/23 and the Final Year League positions.


I first came to Cyprus in 1956 as part of my National Service and was based just outside Famagusta. I was a teacher of English for two years after university before joining Cooper Bros as an articled clerk. I left Coopers in October 1967 to form our own firm with a friend and one secretary. We eventually had 6 partners and over 30 staff. One of my assignments was to support the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) in their third USA tour in 1974. (Ed – so a life of sex, drugs and rock and roll and general debauchery beckoned?). The reality was a bit more mundane. ELO had evaded paying any US taxes in their first two US tours and the IRS were demanding upfront payment of 30% of their expected tour earnings before they would permit them to go on stage in Nashville. (Ed – surely this meant you were able to see the act?)

Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) led by Jeff Lynne (he with the biggest smile as he allegedly got the biggest share of the performance fees! in 1974)

Sadly no, our meeting was in the IRS offices in Washington, and as we left representatives of David Bowie arrived who were in a similar situation!

Brian Lawrence at the Korineum Monday Bridge Club in 2023

I first learned to play Bridge relatively late in life in 2005 when I started to go along to local Bridge clubs in the UK. I decided to settle in the TRNC in 2011 due to Gordon Brown’s introduction of a tax on private pension schemes. As I needed to be in a non-EU country the TRNC was preferable to Malaysia.

(Ed Shades of our current influx of Germans escaping their government taxes perhaps?)

I spent the first two years living Kayalar and I joined the Monday Bridge club then run by Malcolm Davies.


Colin has asked me to put together a brief history of my life and interests, in particular for the time spent in Cyprus, so here goes.

I was born in Alexandria, Egypt where two generations of my mother’s family had spent their time helping the country build its railway network.  My Father was stationed in the country during the last war when Great Britain was trying to hold back Rommel, the desert fox, from over running Egypt. This was a successful campaign as history tells us and had a material effect on the outcome of the war.  My Mother also worked as an interpreter for the British forces and was mentioned in despatches.  At the end of the war, they got married and honeymooned in Kyrenia in the north of Cyprus, staying at the Dome Hotel, which I think was the only one in Kyrenia at that time.

My Father left the Army at the end of the war and got a job with the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), based in Tripoli in Lebanon.   I went to primary school in Tripoli at the Italian convent, which was a bit of an eye opener as I had, had a fairly spoilt upbringing at that stage!  At the age of eight I was “packed off” to Cranleigh boarding school in England.  Didn’t enjoy that experience either!

At age of seventeen I joined the RAF and was trained to become a member of the Supply Branch.  This initial period was where I learnt to play basic or “crew room Bridge”, as we used to call it.  I spent sixteen years in the RAF and was posted from Cranwell to Cyprus in the mid-sixties, for three years.   These were difficult times in Cyprus, after the Republic of Cyprus started to ignore the Turkish Cypriots’ as equal members of the agreed constitution.   The mass persecution of the Turkish Cypriot people at the time is a matter of record.

Prior to this posting I spent a six-month detachment period at RAF Gan, in the Maldives, which is now part of a luxurious holiday destination.  In Cyprus, I was based at Akrotiri for eighteen months and then Episkopi for the final eighteen months.  My final overseas posting was to RAF Changi in Singapore, where the team of four I worked with, closed the base down and handed it over to the Singaporean government.

When back in the UK, I played Tennis for the RAF team, travelling to Hong Kong and Canada and also football at RAF station level.  I also represented my county, Herefordshire at the annual tennis county weeks. I left the RAF in the mid-seventies after receiving an approach from Honeywell Information Systems, which kick started my final career in the computer companies I subsequently worked.

My sixteen years in the RAF, formed a wonderful bridge to my final career lasting around thirty years and covering five different companies, the last of which I retired from in 2004 was AVEVA Engineering Solutions where I was responsible for global sales and services.

Just before I left the RAF, I became one of the founder members of the Professional Tennis Umpires Federation (PTUF).  The nucleus of the initial team was made up of RAF tennis squad members, none of them over forty years old as opposed to several of the traditional Wimbledon officials.

John McEnroe arguing with Mike

Benson and Hedges, who were the main sponsor of the English indoor tennis tournament at the Wembley Pool in the November of each year, asked the PTUF to officiate at the tournament for several years.  Those were the days of Ilie Nastasie, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, and Roger Taylor, etc.  Within two years the PTUF were asked to officiate at the Queen’s club tournament, which was the number two, men’s outdoor event run by the LTA just before Wimbledon.  As an umpire and linesman, I had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of tirades from Nastasie, McEnroe and Connors amongst others, all part of life’s “rich tapestry”!

Eventually, the PTUF and the LTA officials who ran Wimbledon agreed to merge and I was able to Umpire on courts 2 to 18 and act as a linesman on the Centre and number one courts.  The PTUF, whilst the “P” means Professional, were not paid, and worked on a daily expense’s basis.  Today all the top umpires are paid and travel around the World to all the major events.

In 2000 Carole, my Wife and I decided to buy a house in the TRNC with a view to moving here when we retired, which we did in 2004.  After a few years we decided that we needed to do something to keep us busy so went into partnership with friends and opened the first Classic English Fish and chip restaurant based in the TRNC, located in Karaoglanoglu. We really enjoyed the experience but found that the long hours became a little too much so made the decision with our partners to sell the business.  The name of the restaurant was the “CODBABA”, a play on the words GODFATHER….

Carole and I got married in Kenya in 2009 at the Nyali beach hotel near Mombasa.

I also became involved with supporting the late Marian Stokes in running the Home Buyers Pressure Group (HBPG), in 2008.  The HBPG had been assisting numerous ex pats who had encountered difficulty in their property purchases in the TRNC.  Marion organised weekly clinics at the Pia Bella hotel in Kyrenia dealing with ex pat property problems.

At around the same time, Carole was supporting Tulips cancer charity on major fund-raising events.  More recently, she has been heavily involved with the Gonyeli dog rescue and fund raising for the shelter and street dogs.

So, in conclusion, Carole and I have now been living in the TRNC for a total of twenty-two years plus, of course in my case, my three years in the RAF.  My “crew room bridge” has moved forward and I’m playing competitive bridge three times a week now.  We have made a lot of good friends in the TRNC, are having an enjoyable and stimulating retirement and long may it continue.

Mike Bezzant and his wife Carole

HALL OF FAME 2022/23

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