Game’s up for tearful bingo fans


TEARFUL players stood up to be counted as the curtains closed on Islington’s last bingo hall.

The final session at the Mecca Bingo Club in Essex Road took place on Sunday – but festivities at the closing party did nothing to cheer up its devastated regulars.

Liz Grimsley, 48, who brought her 72-year-old aunt, Mary Norman, from Southgate Road, Islington, to the club for 15 years, said: “It was really sad and it was even more sad for the elderly people, because they’ve been going there for 30 years. They were crying. It’s devastating.

“Really, it’s not right. We don’t really know what we will do. I think it’s sad they don’t really think about all the people who come there in their wheelchairs who’ve been coming for years.

“They’ve put it down to the smoking ban but other businesses are going to be affected the same way and they aren’t all closing. They didn’t give us a chance.”

Owner Rank says it had no choice but to close the club because of the estimated effect on sales of the smoking ban in public places, which comes into force in July, coupled with tough taxes on bingo.

Dolores Murray took a trip to the company’s headquarters in Maidenhead to plead with bosses to keep it open.

She could not stop it closing – but managed to get the company to agree to run a bus service to its other clubs.

Ms Murray, a regular at the club for more than 30 years, said: “It’s a shame we couldn’t save it. It’s been part of Islington for all these years. Why didn’t they just wait and see what happened?”

Buses will be leaving Mecca Essex Road for Mecca Camden daily at 12.15pm and 6.15pm returning at 3.55pm and 10pm. Buses will be leaving Mecca Essex Road for Mecca Wood Green daily 12.15pm and 6.15pm, returning at 4.15pm and 10.20pm.

from Bingo Online Review / Bingo Britain /

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