The national Bingo Caller Of The Year competition sadly closed its doors in 2007, just as many clubs themselves were closing their doors for the last time. As a celebration of not just the callers but the players and halls themselves the competition’s demise was ominous.
So, it’s good news that Mecca Bingo have launched their Host Of The Year, which is basically the same thing, the accolade going to the best bingo caller. As there are many independent and other bingo chains in the you can’t really call this a national competition, but bearing in mind how many bingo clubs they have you can be sure that if the was a national, the Mecca winner would be in the top ten at least.
This year’s winner Dale Wilson is a very young 25 years old, however, even at that tender age he is wise enough to know that if you can make people laugh you are half way there. Dale from Huddersfield Mecca Bingo also incorporated theatrics and paper plane competitions into his role as caller for the past three years.
Obviously you need to have the basic calling skills, but, as Dale notes himself “To be a bingo host you have to have nerves of steel and a lot of confidence.” It’s about more than numbers, it’s about getting on stage, sometimes in front of hundreds of players and letting your personality shine through, and engaging your audience (it’s no coincidence that many bingo halls are located in defunct cinemas and theatres).
Dale’s prize was £5,000 which was handed to him by the omnipresent Ricky Tomlinson, an actor, but despite this, a true ‘man of the people’ and the right person for the job. Dale is setting off on the right foot by thanking his club colleagues for contributing to his success, and by sharing his prize with the team. After beating five other finalists he will be become Mecca Bingo’s ambassador for the next year, and in an age of self absorbed celebrities it’s great that the award has gone to someone who is willing to share and recognise the efforts of others.
Well done Dale, and, to all bingo callers out there, past and present, whether you’ve won a competition or not, we salute you for having the heuvos to get up on that stage! Original article.
By: Gareth Whieldon