Charity bingo raises £100,000

September 6, 2010 - by mabel · Filed Under London Bingo Blog Leave a Comment 

Bingo is a great game and a very popular activity for many people, but it’s even nicer to read about people who are putting the love of bingo to a good cause, and using it to raise money for different charities.

66 year old Ray O’Brien, a former Halfords worker living in Ely, Cardiff has now managed to raise an incredible £100,000 for various charities scattered around Great Britain, all by holding charity bingo sessions. He started back in 1985, when he decided to raise some money for the church fund at St Timothy’s in Ely. This was next followed by a fund-raising session for his local Scout troop. Mr O’Brien said; “I became involved after my brother had started running the bingo night. We were both involved in the Scout movement and we needed to raise funds to bring over a troop from Ireland.”

Originally the bingo sessions were held in the Ely Community Hall when there were usually 300 people turning up. The sessions have since become a normal part of life for Ray and his wife Margaret, who take no profit at all from the games. These sessions have proved to be so popular that various generations of the same family have attended and played.

The couple choose different charities to help out, and although they don’t offer cash prizes they do offer a range of prizes which attract players. Recently St David’s Hospital in Canton have been at the receiving end of Ray’s generosity. Ray said; “We raised £300 on the first night, and not long after Margaret and I received an invite to their Christmas party, I was so touched. The staff there often get presents for the children out of their own wages, but the money we raised helped this year. And the kids’ faces just lit up when they were given the presents.”

Justine Carter is a child development adviser at the hospital who praises Ray, she said; “He really is one of those people who has put all his energy into helping others without earning a wage himself. He has the biggest heart and he is constantly on the go to help raise money for local charities. I work in the NHS with children with special needs and Ray has kindly given us some money to buy sensory boxes for all the children I see who are partially sighted or with cerebral palsy. He even goes on holiday Monday to Thursday and comes back on a Friday so he can run the bingo for the regular attendees.”

Often relatives who have lost family members ask Ray to organise a special bingo night in their memory, with past events donating money to charities such as the RNLI and Macmillan Nurses. Money is also sent to a charity for artists who paint using their mouth and feet, as well as the donkey sanctuary in Somerset.

There will hopefully be a special 25th anniversary novelty bingo session at St Timothy’s church hall, going back to where he first started from.

We congratulate Ray for his selfless work and wish him continued success with his fund-raising.

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