When you reach the age of retirement what are you hoping to get up to? Taking up a new hobby like handicrafts is often popular, as is slowing down your pace of life in general and taking the opportunity to just relax!
None of this is for Geoff Moss, however. The 81 year old is believed to be the oldest bingo caller in Suffolk, although he even thinks he could be the oldest in the whole East Anglian region. I can imagine some of you can’t quite picture your dads and granddads doing this in their spare time!
For the last 10 years Geoff has presented the weekly sessions of the game at the Stevenson Centre in Great Cornard, near Sudbury in Suffolk. Rarely missing a game due to the weather or illness, he has now sat at his special bingo caller’s table for around 500 times!
Even more unusually, Geoff says he doesn’t even really like the game: “Personally, I think bingo is a daft game – but I enjoy doing the calling.” Those who benefit from the 81 year old’s clear passion for bingo calling are mostly the older citizens of the Great Cornard area who may not get a chance to go out socialising otherwise.
His motivation is that he gains great satisfaction from providing entertainment to the 50 or so players at Molly’s Club every Tuesday afternoon. “They can be a cheeky bunch and curse me if I don’t call out their numbers. But the main thing is that they get to have a chat and a laugh – that’s why I do it”, he added.
Not even a serious operation requiring a stay in hospital was enough to keep young at heart Geoff away from his seat for long. Shortly afterwards Mr Moss was back and making the players laugh with his witty sense of humour.
This fun side of Geoff has had to be reined in though, since some recent changes. Some of the bingo lingo which is no longer entirely PC has been edited for a more aware modern world. Two fat ladies has fallen foul of the new rules, and ‘two and six, half a crown’ is looking to disappear, but only because it is out of date. Geoff also now has a high-tech number generating machine with a digital display to help him in his task of calling out the numbers.
This big personality has made Geoff a firm favourite with both bingo game attendees, as well as husband and wife team Ron and Joan Grover who run the club. Ron says: “Geoff does sometimes have a tendency to make up stories about the numbers as he goes along, which can make the games go on a bit longer than we would like, and we have to hurry him up. But he’s a lovely chap and the club wouldn’t be the same without him.”
If all keeps going well, I’m sure Geoff will carry ‘Straight on Through’ to 82 (and beyond!)