After more than 30 years calling the balls in Norfolk, a dedicated couple say that their number is up, and that they are now ready to officially retire.
James and Marie Andrews live in Stalham, and have been married for 57 years. During their time together, they’ve organised many charity bingo events at their local town hall. Charities including East Anglian Air Ambulance, two lifeboat services, Macmillan Nurses, and Stalham and Smallburgh First Responders have all benefited from the couple’s fundraising efforts over the years, during which almost £130k has been shared among them.
Mr. Andrews, who’s now 86, has been helping raise money for charities since he was 22, when he worked as a volunteer at a local St John’s Ambulance branch. During his time there, he helped to organise bingo events, fetes and whist drives to help boost the charity’s coffers. Through sheer hard work and dedication, he worked his way up to superintendent, and when the couple moved to Stalham in 1965, he helped to set up a branch in the town.
He then began organising charity bingo sessions at Stalham Town Hall, sometimes raising money for up to 20 different charities per year. Mr. Andrews not only organised these events, but also took the role of caller, whilst his wife helped to gather prizes.
The duo say their favourite number is 59 (Brighton line) because every time it’s called, the players shout out ‘woo woo’ to emulate a train.
Mr. Andrews went on to become president of the St Johns Ambulance branch, and was eventually promoted to vice president of the North Norfolk area. Since retiring, he and his wife have concentrated on raising funds for local organisations, and say that they have “thoroughly enjoyed” running the charity bingo sessions. They love the fact that it gives local people somewhere to go and enjoy themselves, whilst also helping good causes, and say that they’ve had very loyal support from Stalham residents over the years.
The pair presided over their final session on the evening of Monday, 3rd December 2012, along with Ted Firman, who’s been helping call the numbers for more than a decade, and say they’ll continue to support the event in future. Luckily for both the local charities and the bingo-lovers of Norfolk, the sessions will continue to run thanks to another volunteer who’s taken over the reins.
Do any of our readers attend or organise charity bingo sessions?