Playing bridge online has handed Donald a lifeline

Posted: Wednesday 15 July 2020

After being widowed 20 years ago, Donald Reid decided to take up playing bridge to fill the often long and empty evenings. Despite the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) 16 years ago, the 81-year old continued his passion up to seven nights a week.

However, this all changed when the lockdown was announced in March earlier this year and Donald’s weekly routine was turned upside down.

“To be honest it was a bit of a shock when everything suddenly closed,” he said. “Within the space of a day all four of the local bridge clubs shut as well as the nearby golf club. That left my diary empty. I wasn’t sure what to do and wondered how I was going to fill my time.”

He added: “I was completely traumatised. The future looked completely empty”

Thankfully for Donald he was handed a lifeline and was introduced to online bridge for the first time. Not only was he still able to continue to play with people he knew, he also found it much easier than ordinary bridge. Donald and his friends were therefore able to continue their sessions six nights a week.

“The online service is definitely much easier if you have macular degeneration,” he said. “In real life bridge if you had a club you would be expected to follow suit. But because of my AMD I would often think that a club is a spade and wrongly follow with that. I could not see the cards on the table properly and my friends would often have to gently step in. Now, thankfully there is none of that. The machine simply won’t allow you to play the wrong card and all the cards are beautifully displayed right in front of your nose.”

Donald says he has found a new lease of life thanks to the online game and plans to continue playing this way when life eventually returns to normal.

“While I certainly miss talking to people, this is such a good substitute and I certainly intend to carry on even after the lockdown ends.”

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