MP calls the numbers as 'bingo family' reunite at rebranded hall
- Credit: Mick Howes
Bingo lovers were feeling top of the shop as customers old and new were welcomed to a recently revamped hall with a long history.
After some bingo halls across the country were forced to close amid the coronavirus crisis, Merkur Bingo Lowestoft unveiled its new name as it reopened its doors on Battery Green Road last month.
And this week Waveney MP Peter Aldous sharpened up his 'bingo lingo' as he called the numbers during a charity game.
With the first number called out being 67, the lucky winner was announced after 66 numbers - with the full house landing a £50 bingo voucher.
After completing his third stint on the mic, Mr Aldous said: "It's great that many people are getting back and returning to bingo, which in this location is part and parcel of Lowestoft.
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"Now the facility is open once more, for older people it's absolutely crucial to get out and socialise with friends in a vibrant atmosphere, which is so important to combat loneliness.
"Also, this hall is leading the way across the country in opening up to younger people and that shows we have got a tremendous facility here where people can have a great night out.
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"This is a major asset for the town - one we should cherish."
Club operations manager Tracy Hayward said there is a real community feel around the facility.
She said: "We just want to highlight to the government that is not all about gambling - with bingo it is also about socialising.
"People come in and make new friends, we are a bingo family."
Mrs Hayward, who has worked at the bingo hall for 20 years, said the club is open to those aged 18-plus.
"We get a lot of youngsters coming in on an evening, and going forward in the future we will look to have a DJ in for the younger members," she said.
Mary Garbutt, 71, from Lowestoft, has been attending the hall in Lowestoft for more than 50 years.
She said: "It was lovely to be back again on the first day, and during the past few weeks, catching up with friends and seeing people again after lockdown."
Rick Espey, area manager at Merkur Casino UK, said: "Bingo halls around the country are offering an invaluable service to people of all ages - and here in Lowestoft it is very, very popular with young people."