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Oxford woman, 97, battles teen for rare bridge award

Betty Wills, a Knolls of Oxford resident, has earned the distinction of Life Master Status through the American Contract Bridge League.

“It is the goal for most tournament type bridge players to attain Life Master status” said Don Byrkett, a team member who helped Wills earn the status.

Wills has been working toward Life Master status for 70 years and may be one of the oldest to achieve it at the age of 97.

“Betty is an extremely focused and dedicated player,” Byrkett said.

In the match that earned Wills her coveted status, her team of Mike Broida and Don and Paula Byrkett played a team with a 16-year-old who had just reached Life Master status.

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“There was one of the youngest Life Masters versus one of the oldest Life Masters,” Paula Byrkett said. “To our team, it was an honor and a thrill to part of seeing Betty achieve her goal.”

In order to earn this level of achievement, members must get 300 master points with at least 50 of them being black, 50 silver, 50 red or gold/platinum, of which at least 25 must be gold or platinum.

Wills stays active playing bridge at least twice a week at The Knolls of Oxford. She said she started playing bridge because her husband’s coworkers played and she was interested in seeing what it was all about. She loved it and has been playing ever since.

“If you play bridge, you are always able to meet new people, you challenge your brain, and it keeps your mind going,” Wills said, adding she plans to continue playing to earn the next level — Bronze Life Master status.

— Contributed by Victoria Diana

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