Neighbours social distancing but playing bingo

It was late last month that we first heard about neighbours coming together to enjoy bingo games while also complying with social distancing rules. And, since Michael Larkin of Canon Mooney Gardens in Ringsend, Ireland, hit the headlines for holding the first “balcony bingo” event in March 2020, his story has inspired countless others to bring some much-needed entertainment to their local areas.

Newspapers across Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland have continued to bring us stories of neighbours hosting social distancing bingo games as the UK lockdown continues, with reports coming in from towns and cities as far apart as Wallsend, Inverness, Rhyl, Scarborough, and Portsmouth.

In Wallsend in the metropolitan borough of North Tyneside, a dad-of-two has temporarily taken on the role of bingo caller to host games from his front garden in Howdon. The Elgin Avenue resident encouraged 17 households to take part in the game held last Saturday, and the lucky winners received a range of handy prizes including hand sanitiser and soap.

To ensure that everyone remained at least 2 metres apart, players joined in the fun either from their own front gardens or by leaning out of their windows. The organiser, Mark Henderson, then proceeded to call the numbers out over a loudspeaker. He believes that such events are helping to bring “communities closer together”.

Residents of Bruton Park Estate in Rhyl, North Wales, have also been boosting their spirits by holding coffee mornings where household members sit outside their respective homes on deckchairs, as well as bingo games with wine and chocolates as prizes.

And, in Portsmouth, an entire road has been participating in group exercise sessions and bingo events thanks to their neighbour, Marcus Tisson.

Last weekend, over 40 people enjoyed a workout accompanied by music from Bob Marley and Psy before hunkering down in hopes of a full house with a street-wide bingo game.

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