altWe’re not quite sure whether anyone other than Hilda Smith has loved bingo for as long as she has! The ex-bingo worker turned 101 earlier this month, and celebrated with a big birthday bash at her home in Cowley, Oxford, with five generations of family members.

Hilda, who currently lives in a care home, has been looking forward to the postman delivering a very special birthday card from Her Majesty, The Queen to mark this amazing occasion. The team here at Bingo Hideout would have loved to have posted her a themed, celebratory card as well, but bingo balls only go up to number 90!

Mrs. Smith was joined by her 50-year-old granddaughter, Sharon, her 75-year-old daughter Mary, plus Faye Gibbons (5) and Amy Gibbons (25), who are her great-great-granddaughter and great-granddaughter respectively. Sharon describes Hilda as “such a character” and her “best friend,” who loves to tell stories, watch Norman Wisdom films, and have a good, old laugh. Mrs. Smith, on the other hand, says “I can’t help being old, but I can help being stupid!”

In her younger years, Hilda held a position at a Headington old people’s home. She then went on to marry her husband, Ernest James Smith, in Oxford in 1933 after meeting him at St Giles’ Fair. Together, they helped to run evening bingo sessions at the nearby Barton community centre in the 70s and 80s. Sadly, Ernest passed away in 2003, but Hilda’s still got plenty of people to keep her company in the form of five children, thirteen grandchildren, twenty-one great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren. That’s a lot of Christmas and birthday presents and cards to buy! Hilda went on to become a home carer until she was 70, and is now hopefully getting something back in return for her dedication from the staff at the Isis House Care Home in Cowley where she now resides.

If you’re lucky enough to live to a ripe-old age like Hilda, do you think you will still be playing bingo? For some of you, that could be a pretty long way away, in which case, how do you think we’ll be playing our favourite game by then? Maybe we’ll be able to win a full house on the Moon, teleport down to our local club, or maybe they’ll have gaming devices fitted on public transport? Give your crystal ball a quick polish and let us know what you think!