Langham: Lifelong friends smash the million mark playing favourite game Scrabble

TWO word-obsessed friends are celebrating their first million.

The women, both 75, have achieved a combined score of 1,233,592 in the board game Scrabble after 47 years of playing it together.

Celia Simms, of Langham in west Suffolk, and Joan Dungay, who lives in Surrey, have been best friends since they were 14 years old and have been Scrabble enthusiasts since Mrs Simms picked up the game from a high commissioner’s wife while living in South Africa.

With a mother and uncle who were both journalists – and having spent many years as a reporter herself – Mrs Simms has always had an inbuilt love of language.

Meanwhile, Mrs Dungay pursued a career as a nurse and was matron of a nursing home until her retirement.

Mrs Simms explained: “We started playing Scrabble together in 1965 and when I moved from Surrey to Suffolk, we decided we would each keep a record of our scores until we reached a million points between us.

“Whenever we play – either on our own or together – we put the scores in a book.

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“Then yesterday, we decided it was time to have a quick count up, and when we added it all together, we were surprised to find that we had surpassed the million mark by quite some way.”

The women, who have both lost their husbands in the past two years, meet up every three months for games, and although Mrs Dungay usually comes out on top, they insist there is no rivalry between them where Scrabble is concerned.

“We will sometimes challenge a word if we don’t think it’s right, but I don’t think we have ever had an argument in 60 years of knowing each other,” Mrs Simms said.

They don’t have any special tips for playing the game well, but advise that words containing a ‘Q’ are the best for anyone aiming to equal their astounding total – which they attribute to ‘teamwork’ and a love of the game.

Mrs Dungay said: “What you really need is a word like ‘quintet’ which has a ‘Q’ in it and also gives you 50 points for using all seven of your letters.”

She added: “Yesterday, we started working towards a new million and racked up a score of 277. I’m not sure that we have another 47 years left to play though.”

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