Last call for two fat ladies at pier

TIME is being called on a seaside tradition at Felixstowe - with the bingo on the pier set to close.

TIME is being called on a seaside tradition at Felixstowe - with the bingo on the pier set to close.

Tomorrow is set to be the last sessions at the bingo hall, which has been part of the pier amusements since the 1960s.

But Mike Collins, who has run the bingo for the past 15 years, has decided to retire and will be calling his last games.

“It will be the end of an era but times change and things have moved on,” said Mr Collins, of Cliff Road, Old Felixstowe.

“I have decided it is time to close up.”

Bingo is booming business these days with the game growing in popularity - partly due to the huge cash prizes now offered by the big companies organising the pastime.

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Felixstowe's Palace bingo hall in the town centre has just undergone a £1 million refurbishment and is attracting regular crowds to play the game.

But seafront bingo halls - which may be as traditional a part of the trip to the seaside as ice cream and candy floss - are seasonal and only draw good crowds at weekends and on sunny days, often closing for most of the year.

Felixstowe's pier bingo, where people play for vouchers for a range of gifts, is also one of the few remaining where players cover the lit numbers with sliding hatches.

Owner of the pier, Stan Threadwell junior, has not yet decided what will happen to the bingo area alongside the entrance ramp. If no-one comes forward to take over the bingo next summer the area may be revamped with a new attraction.

The pier, which also features kiosks, small rides and an amusement arcade, is still open for business despite the wooden structure over the sea being closed for safety reasons.

What do you think of the bingo closing? What are your memories of playing bingo at the seaside? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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