Bingo News September 2016 Roundup - Tragedies, Expansions and Fundraisers!
September has been a real rollercoaster of a month in the world of bingo. We’ve seen heartwarming and life changing fundraisers, tragic car accidents and bingo group expansions. Needless to say, bingo news is more exciting than ever!
Gala Bingo’s Life-Changing Fundraiser
Gala Bingo has stepped in to help a family in Irvine, who have been fighting to get their son to America for a life-changing operation. The family of Jackson Waddell, who suffers from cerebral palsy, have been trying to raise money for an SDR (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy) operation, which could give Waddell the ability to walk without his frame.
Gala Bingo ran a free draw and collection, to help the Irvine family raise money to beat their £1,000 target. The total amount raised by Gala Bingo’s generous customers was a big £757 on Sunday, September 18!
A woman in Blackpool has been charged with drink-driving after having a drink at her local bingo club. Nakita Holliday, had been playing bingo with a friend, and had decided to have a drink with the intention of not driving home. Despite this, she then drove home and was caught by police, driving erratically. She was pulled over and made to take a breath test, which showed she was well over the limit.
She has since been relieved of her new post as pub manageress, was banned from driving for 17 months, and was fined £120 by Blackpool magistrates.
Brush With Death
A woman in Ballywater had a close call in a fatal car crash that took one life. Freda Boyle, was returning home with her partner after a game of bingo. Boyle had to be cut out of the wreckage of her car, whilst sustaining serious fractures to her neck. Her partner also received heavy bruising.
Paul Crossan was killed in the two-car collision, which has been described as a tragic loss. This is but one of the many tragic car accidents that have occurred on Northern Ireland’s roads this year.
The Return of Free Bingo in Burton
Good news for bingo fans in Burton: free bingo will be returning in the Octagon shopping centre next month! The shopping centre will be hosting 6 games, in a fun-filled afternoon of bingo, tea, coffee and snacks! One very lucky winner could go home with £35 worth of vouchers, to be used in any Octagon store of their choice!
The event is to be held from 12pm to 2pm, on Thursday October 6 by Paul’s Cafe. Word of caution, the manager of The Octagon advises bingo players to arrive early to guarantee a place at the table!
Intertain Group Rebrand
The Canadian bingo firm ‘Intertain Group’ has rebranded under the name ‘Jackpotjoy’, and is looking to move onto the main market of the London Stock Exchange. With its new branding in place, it hopes to debut on the stock exchange next month.
The company, with a value of around £430 million, currently trades in Toronto, but feels that the UK is the best place to be. They were talks of a sale earlier this year, however, Britain’s surprise vote for Brexit forced their hand. We’ll know more in next month’s roundup!
Hit and Run
After returning home from bingo, Susan Smythe, was killed in a hit-and-run. She was hit by a dangerous driver, and died from injuries sustained at the scene of the crash in Stretford. One of the police officers sent to investigate the hit-and-run sadly turned out to be Susan’s son, PC Rob Smythe. Tributes have been pouring in for Smythe and her family who will “miss her greatly”.
The driver has since been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, and is due to appear in court in October. Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward with any information they may have.
Last month, we reported about the Rank Group and 888’s rejected takeover bid over William Hill. Well it appears that the Rank Group isn’t going to let a bit of rejection get in their way. They have started preparing for a possible expansion in the UK. This expansion would involve a launch of a new type of bingo club. These clubs would be small, modern, and located in city centres or near the nightclub scene. A subsidiary of the group has recently registered for trademarks for Luda, Luma and Kuda, which are suspected to be potential names for this new brand.
The group continues this expansion with their new appointments for Managing Directors for their Grosvenor Casino Division, and Mecca Bingo. In addition, its subsidiary Mecca Bingo is looking to launch a new UK marketing campaign with TV personality Louise Redknapp. This high-visibility campaign is looking to promote the brand even further.
Armed Bingo Raid
An armed gang in Ireland raided the popular ‘Let’s Bingo’ bingo hall, taking an unknown sum of cash. The gang, wearing Halloween masks, armed themselves with bats and hammers. They reportedly forced bingo staff members to hand over their money, and stole money from the arcade. It’s currently unknown as to whether this gang of up to 5 men had a firearm.
Over 100 people were present at the time of the raid, which proved to be deeply traumatic—one elderly woman even passed out during the terrifying ordeal. Police are still currently investigating.
Mobility Scooter Theft
A Carlisle woman has had her mobility scooter stolen during a game of bingo this month. Liz Brown received the scooter, worth £1,600, from the RAF Benevolent Fund, due to her time in the force as an air defence operator and a clerk typist.
The devastated woman has since said: “They might as well have chopped my legs off”, as it’s her only way to move about outside. She uses it to go shopping and to get to the hospital. Without it, she can’t do anything without asking for outside help. It’s unclear yet as to whether she’ll be able to receive another. Mrs Brown pleads for the thieves to her lifeline to the outside world.
Bingo Charity Football raises money for Macmillan
Finally, to end this month on a happy note, let’s look at a real feel-good story.
Gala Bingo clubs in Slough took part in the Slough Charity Football tournament to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The event was kickstarted and organized by Lucy Thomson in memory of her grandad, who received support from Macmillan during his treatment for cancer. Thomson said: “It was great for all one region to become one and raise money for a charity so close to my heart”. Indeed, it certainly warms the heart to read such a touching story.
Gala Bingo Slough won the tournament, with the team consisting of members of Gala Bingo staff and club members. The event raised a staggering £2,500! This money will go towards giving cancer patients medical, financial and emotional help.
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