April 20 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, September 1, 2012
A Ludham woman has been hailed for her charity fundraising after running a bingo night for 13 years and raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity.
No one knows the exact amount 80-year-old Blanche Gibbs has raised for charities during her reign as bingo master at Ludham Church Rooms at St Catherine’s Church in Norwich Road, as it has been spread across a number of worthy causes.
But it could be close to £40,000.
Blanche believes she has given about £6,000 to the East Anglian Air Ambulance, inspired by their treatment of a young boy who was run down by a car in Stalham, although that figure could be higher.
Blanche said: “I just like doing it, you get fun in it, the people who come are regulars and they come from different villages, they are all happy and they like what I give them.
“To be honest I wish I had started doing it sooner!”
As to the money, she is not fazed.
“I don’t take any notice of the amount of money, I just know I have done it.
“I like doing it, because I am doing it for something that needs it. Wouldn’t anyone be happy, doing something for other people?”
She has been running the nights once a month for 13 years straight, and offers 45 prizes for the bingo, which she collects herself.
She likes to give away food prizes, and could be the only bingo caller to offer an English breakfast as a prize.
She donates to a number of community groups including Ludham Primary School and Nursery, and a charity for retired greyhounds in Norwich.
Helen Dodman, press officer for the East Anglian Air Ambulance said: “This is an incredible dedication. To hold something once a month for that many years is such an amazing dedication to charity. For one person to do all that is very impressive.
“To put it into perspective, it costs us £2,000 to do a mission, so her donations have saved three people’s lives. You cannot really put it into words. When you think of it in those terms you see what a vital job these selfless donors do.”
For details of Blanche’s regular bingo night, go to the Village Life section of the Mercury, and look under the Ludham heading.