EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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June 11, 2013

After 40 years, Bingo ends tonight at Sacred Hearts

HAVERHILL — Tonight will mark the end of an era for Bingo games at Sacred Hearts School. After nearly 40 years of providing the area with a weekly night out and a chance to win some money, Sacred Hearts is putting an end to the last Bingo game in town.

School and church officials said Bingo has been a steady source of income that has allowed Sacred Hearts School to annually award financial assistance to a number of families. But, with a doubling in size of the school population, there’s a growing need to use the gymnasium/cafeteria where Bingo games are held for an increasing number of after school activities and events.

For those who continued to make the trek to Sacred Hearts every Tuesday night, it was the last Bingo game in a city that once had more than a half dozen Bingo halls. Some players said they don’t know what they will do after tonight’s final game.

“It’s our only night out,” said 80-year-old Lena Dionne, who has been bringing her 56-year-old son Roger Dionne to Sacred Hearts Bingo every week for years.

“My friend drops us off as my son is special needs and doesn’t drive,” Lena Dionne said prior to the start of last week’s Bingo game. “After they close we’ll have nothing else to do. Roger doesn’t go many places without me.”

The night before Bingo, Roger Dionne packs a bag with daubers and snacks and makes sure they have a ride. He made his final preparations last night for tonight’s game, at which a larger than usual crowd is expected and a special pasta meal will be served.

They usually arrive at Bingo early to make it as long a night out as possible.

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