Friends of more than 30 years have come up with a way to entertain their neighbours and raise money for good causes.

Eric Gillespie, 57, Christine Gillespie, 58, and friends and neighbours Anne Horricks, 64, and husband David, 64 have been organising street bingo for Priory Drive residents at Cleator Moor.

They have raised thousands for several good causes, including the children’s ward at West Cumberland Hospital, Hospice at Home West Cumbria and food collections, and money was also given to support self-employed people in Priory Drive who could not work due to Covid-19.

Eric said they came up with the idea at the beginning of lockdown and the community has been supporting the bingo for four months.

He added: “It’s absolutely great here, we moved here 10 years ago from Keir Hardie. It’s a great community, everyone looks forward to the socially distanced bingo every week. When we said we were having bingo everyone was keen, there are now 50 or 60 that do it. We do hot dogs and home made soup, and pop and crisps for the kids.

“We have a bingo raffle and neighbours pay £10 a line and £25 for a house for four games every Tuesday night.

“We did a food collection for the foodbank and collected four or five big boxes off Priory Drive and there are only about 40 houses (there are three cul-de-sacs and the street itself).”

Eric said his neighbours can’t wait to start the bingo sessions. “The bingo starts at 6.30pm and people arrive at 5pm, putting their seats out and music plays out and everyone is up for it," he said. "At half time the food is brought out on a table, then we start bingo again."

With darker nights and winter months coming in, they might have to stop, but Eric joked: “If they bring their torches we will continue. We did it in the rain once, people came with their umbrellas.”

This is not the first time Eric and Christine have raised money for good causes. Eric said: “We decorate our house at Christmas and do games on the garden, and with donations over the last 20 years we’ve raised about £20,000 for the children’s ward.”