House! Joy as popular Mecca Bingo hall reopens in Wednesbury

A popular bingo hall has welcomed back customers after seven months of closure due to the pandemic.

Customer Betty O'Byrne from Great Barr is glad to be back
Customer Betty O'Byrne from Great Barr is glad to be back

Customers and staff members at Mecca Bingo, Wednesbury, were delighted to returning to playing this week.

The site, on Dudley Street, has enjoyed a steady stream of customers since reopening on Monday - and staff are braced for a busier weekend.

Customers return to Mecca Bingo in Wednesbury

Among those to return playing was Janet Harrison, aged 70, from Tipton, who said: "I don't come here very often but being able to return has done me the world of good.

"I did not win anything today but it is just the pleasure of being able to come out and mix with friends and the staff."

Doreen Pritchard, 82 from Wednesbury, was also delighted to return to the bingo hall following months of lockdown.

She said: "It is good to get out of the house when you are in your 80s. I only won on the boards today but hopefully I can win next time."

Customers have returned to Mecca Bingo in Wednesbury

Jordan Bowen celebrated his birthday by playing a game of bingo.

The 24-year-old, from Tipton, who has been playing bingo for six years, said: "It is absolutely amazing to be back playing bingo. Normally it is fantastic here, very pleasant."

Delma Kendrick, 66 from Smethwick, visited the bingo hall for a game with her husband Michael, 69.

She said: "It is almost back to normal isn't it. He [Michael] won £67 while I won £3.30."

There were further causes of celebrations this week with Mecca Bingo celebrating its 60th birthday. Special offers have been put on for customers.

Wednesbury has reopened its doors after restrictions were lifted

Inside the bingo hall, when the Express & Star visited on Wednesday, there was a warm and lively atmosphere led by friendly and dedicated staff.

Players were spaced out for social-distancing and staff and customers were wearing face masks.

Ranjit Singh Choongh, who is co-manager at the site alongside Paul Hornigold, said: "It feels absolutely fantastic to be back.

"After seven months of closure, it is nice to have all of our members back again. It is an absolute pleasure to be serving the community again.

"Ultimately, we are a community hub so it is wonderful to have them back. We opened on Monday morning at 10am.

Co-manager Ranjit Singh Choongh celebrates the reopening

"A lot of of work has gone in to reopening. Seven months of closure takes its toll both on the equipment, the building and the team.

"I think I can speak on behalf of the wider hospitality industry when I say when you have not been in, doing what you always do, it does take a little bit of time - emotionally, physically and mentally - to get back up to speed.

"The hospitality and leisure industry is a tough industry. We are customer facing. Although we love it, and it certainly has it rewards, it is a lot of work."

He added: "Customers have been ecstatic to come back, and really happy to get out of the house. We gave a real tight knit base within the bingo world.

"It is very much a community hub. They don't come here just to play bingo, but to see their friends, and the team. It is very much like one big family.

"The reception has been wonderful. A family environment is one of the best ways to describe it."

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