31-01-09 15:21 Age: 10 yrs

Surprising Journey To Love Of Bridge

Published in The Cairns Post Weekender

Surprising journey to love of bridge   

As a Sydney pharmacist in her 20's with an obsessive crush on actor Omar Sharif, Helly Kemp was worlds away form his glamorous life of show business and International bridge.     But believing that dreams must come true, Helly simply changed her profession to snowfield correspondant for the Sydney Morning Herald in 1967, did world-wide ski promotions for Qantas in 1968 and moved to London becoming "our girl" in Europe for Australian magazine, New Idea.     With this background and her own press agency, it was now easy to meet and befriend Omar.     "I knew nothing about bridge when I met Omar," Helly says.     "But he was very kind and allowed me inside  the private gaming room at London's Dorchester Hotel, where major matches were played for great amounts of money.     "I was very privileged for this was hallowed ground where mortals did not tread."     Soon Helly's obsession with Omar was overtaken by her lifelong obsession with bridge.     Two years ago, she opened her boutique Café Bridge Club on Lake Tinaroo, with sessions arranged by phone for members and visitors on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or weekends.     Helly was also developing The 35 Steps, inspired by the classic Hitchcock thriller The 39 Steps.     "This graphic cheat sheat is a laminated, full colour, single page teaching aid for beginners and an aide-memoire for that occasional 'blonde' or 'senior' moment of intermediate players," Helly explains.     "The A3, A4, and A5 Visi-Guide has a powerful visual impact, allowing beginners to comprehend the overall bridge concept at first sighting.     "It has been displayed in Sydney's Grand Slam Bridge Centre and on their website and is now in the February issue of Australian Bridge magazine."     The 35 Steps is used by teachers Lesley Fraser and Rebecca Delaney at the Cairns Bridge Club, whose president, Ken Miller, calls it "a wonderful, ingenious bridge aid for beginners".

For more information phone 4095 2130.


Where it all started: Helly Kemp in the early days with actor Omar Sharif, who introduced her to the wonders of bridge