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Lucky for some bingo joy

PUBLISHED: 16:23 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:46 23 August 2010

BINGO players who have been left with nowhere to play after their hall closed have been given a lifeline. Regulars at the Gala Bingo Hall, Gravesend, were devastated after it closed last month. But this week Fleet Leisure and Sports Club, a subsidiary o

BINGO players who have been left with nowhere to play after their hall closed have been given a lifeline.

Regulars at the Gala Bingo Hall, Gravesend, were devastated after it closed last month.

But this week Fleet Leisure and Sports Club, a subsidiary of FA Trophy winners Ebbsfleet United FC, stepped in to offer them the use of their club.

Manager Sandra Thomas, of Fleet Leisure, Nelson Road, Gravesend, said it will not be on as large a scale as Gala but would help those disappointed over the closure.

She said: "Fleet Leisure's whole initiative is about offering affordable community facilities for all ages and all types of activities and bingo is no exception.

"For generations and generations this has been run as a paper mill social club and was based on membership and referrals. What people don't seem to realise is that this is not the case now and the facility is open to everyone.

"We are also home to the training ground of Ebbsfleet United so what more can you want after their fantastic FA Trophy win.

"We want to offer our services to those who have been affected by the Gala Bingo closure and anyone else who wants to come along."

Mrs Thomas said the club already held bingo sessions before Gala closed but since it shut down they have attracted an extra 30 players for the Tuesday night session.

They have now agreed to hold bingo sessions every other Sunday to cope with demand and may put on other dates if needed.

Bar manager Kevin Pidwell, 52, has worked at the club for 32 years.

He said: "We have seen an increase in players coming to our sessions since the closure and we will do all we can to accommodate more if needed. We aim to put the fun back into bingo."

Fleet Leisure has also employed Steve Beauchamp, who was made redundant when Gala Bingo closed, to help run the events.

Sessions currently open at 7pm every Tuesday and 7pm every other Sunday, with the latest one held last weekend.

Gala Bingo in Gravesend closed on April 22 and negotiations for the sale of the premises are currently underway with potential buyers.

To find out more about bingo sessions and other facilities call Fleet Leisure 01474 359222.

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