Hundreds of people attend Mecca Bingo’s last night in Hornchurch
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of players hoped for their lucky numbers to be called on the last night of Mecca Bingo in Hornchurch.
The 1930s bingo hall, closed its doors on Sunday night with entertainments and up to 700 people, who came to say goodbye to the building, which was bought by Lidl this summer.
Hayley Johnson, 37, from High Street in Hornchurch, used to play bingo at the hall in High Street every couple of months and said Sunday night was “really emotional”.
“Bingo is a lot of fun but there was a lot of tears although it was a great night.”
Queues were forming in front of the 1930s art deco building from about 2.15pm on Sunday but doors did not open before 4.30pm for the last bingo game, which started at 7pm.
The building reached its full capacity and staff opened the upper circle to accommodate members of the public.
The event, which was ticketed for £20 per head, included live music, a free buffet and a hot drink.
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One member of staff, who had worked at the bingo for many years and found a job at another of the company’s branch but preferred not to be named, said there was a “great atmosphere under the circumstances”.
“The staff are truly devastated about the closure and everyone having to go their separate ways,” she said.
“It is upsetting as many of the older customers have no where else to go and will lose touch with friends they have made there.”
Mecca Bingo have organised for a shuttle bus to transport customers from Hornchurch to the bingo in Dagenham for a three months trial.
In September, Lidl applied to knock down the bingo and resident launched a petition to save the building, which has more than 500 signatures.
Historic England has received formal requests from the Cinema Theatre Association and a resident that the building be given listed status earlier this month and a decision is still pending.
In the meantime, Havering Council halted the demolition of the bingo by serving an Article 4 Direction on the owners Lidl, meaning they will need planning permission before tearing down the building.