Triple Digit Birthday for Falkirk Bingo Veteran

Cards out and ears at the ready! There’s been ample cause for bingo celebration in Falkirk in recent weeks. With the relaunch of local Buzz Bingo club hall comes an equally momentous occasion: Mima Heaney, a regular and longtime veteran, celebrates her 100th birthday – long past top of the shop 90 and into the distance of triple digits. Mima’s been dedicated to the game of bingo for much of her life, even hauling through Scottish winter snows to reach weekly appointments (legs only; no Land Rover). It’s fitting then that she, out of all candidates, was guest of honour at the Falkirk launch in June.

Buzz Bingo investment sees events countrywide

Mima cut the relaunch ribbon on the 30th (after a long and sleepless night of anticipation). With games ahead and bingo to be played, she was then led onto stage to read out the first sets of numbers – a surprise birthday treat which she particularly enjoyed. A representative of Buzz, Ian Fitzpatrick, said that “they wanted somebody who meant something to the local club” to do the honours, rather than a brand name celebrity or figure. “That person is Mina,” said Ian. “She represents Buzz Bingo customers both past and present.”

This large ceremony, which marked not just Falkirk but Clacton-On-Sea and Enfield town relaunches, is but one of many. Buzz, owned and operated by Gala Leisure and backed by Caledonia Investments, are apparently on a roll. They’ve gone ahead with huge investment this year, revamping Buzz Bingo clubs up and down the country without hesitation, although they’re keen to maintain the spirit of each local community.

CEO Chris Matthews has been quoted as saying that their “unique relationship with customers will always be considered core… A game of bingo and community spirit go hand in hand,” and Mima seems testament to that fact.

“I’ve been so excited to be part of the launch,” she said. “Buzz is a great, safe, social environment. The management and staff have become friends.”

An ancient game

Mima was born into a very different world, not least in technology but in bingo popularity. Back in the 1920s, the game was a carnival affair rather than a mainstream pastime, competing with board game Monopoly, the radio and good old-fashioned fresh air country walks. It steadily gained traction in the UK throughout the many decades to come, however, and now bingo is bigger and better than ever. Over 649 licensed clubs exist in the UK today, with mobile phone apps left, right and centre to boot. The player base is growing and the regular community, which is so vital to the game of bingo, grows with it.

Mima might be at the polar end of their age demographics sections, but others like her daughter also play regularly. As a final birthday treat, Mima was awarded lifetime free membership at Buzz, and while she continues to attend and enjoy the game it’s likely many others will come to join her. Young, old, veteran and new, bingo is on the rise everywhere.

Mima turned 100 on July 20th. Here’s hoping the occasion brought her some luck at the tables.