If you’ve read our scholarly and in-depth article on the early history of Bingo in the UK, like myself you were no doubt surprised to learn that bingo was played by British troops in the trenches of World War I. The game proved and excellent morale booster and social event for the entrenched soldiers, despite concerns about game fixing and unfairness.
Roll time forward almost a 100 years to the present, then this little titbit of info ties in nicely with the latest press release from Gala about their supplying bingo kit for frontline British troops in Afghanistan. Gala were responding to a request from The Queens Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment out on the frontline in Afghanistan for equipment to help them raise funds for Cancer Research with a charity bingo night.
Gala responded by sending out a dabbers, cards and prize vouchers to help the troops in the effort to raise money. Also along for the ride was the gold jacket used to call the game of bingo played on Everest last year. The jacket was warn by Lance Corporal George Horne who took on the duty of calling at the event. Each of the 50 soldiers who took part in the event will be getting a free night out on Gala when they return from Afghanistan.
A Gala spokesperson said, “everyone at Gala Coral is incredibly proud of our troops and the great work that they undertake in service of the country.” Personally, I love how this humble little game has a life off its own in the military, and this latest event adds to the long tradition of the game both within the armed forces and as a means for raising funds for charity whilst giving everyone a great evening’s entertainment.
It looks like Gala have also found themselves a nice little PR gimmick here, follow the gold caller’s jacket. I can see this little garment being passed on from event to event, making it one of the best travelled caller’s jackets in the history of bingo. Gala are saying to watch this space as to where it appears next. They could go one step further and make a gold jacket jackpot game to tie in with it. Just as long as the first prize isn’t a trip to the frontline in Afghanistan, I’m sure it would go down a treat.