This week, Hull mourns the passing of a beloved bingo icon, Mrs Evelyn Gallagher.
Passing away at age 82, Evelyn was described by her daughter as “highly regarded in the Hessle Road community and she would help anyone who was in trouble”. Her funeral took place September 9th at Haltemprice Crematorium, with the procession heading down Hessle Road.
Evelyn and her husband Billy, who passed away 3 years earlier, opened the first money bingo hall in Hull, transforming the social lives of many fishermen’s wives in the 1960s and 1970s
Both Evelyn and husband Billy came from showman backgrounds; Billy was born at the fairgrounds in Bridlington, while Evelyn herself was born at the fairs in Sunderland.
It should be no surprise that, after finding each other, the couple continued their lives as travelling show people. They travelled all over the country, scraping by on the money they made from bottle-top bingo games.
Eventually, the couple chanced upon Hessle Road, Hull in 1982. They began using wooden buildings in the bombed-out area of Liverpool Street for bingo. Enthusiasm was so intense that the happy couple fell in love with the area and decided to stay.
However, it wasn’t easy. When Billy and Evelyn first arrived in Hull, they were still quite young and had nothing financially, so they had to borrow money from the bank. One year later, they had transformed the old Eureka picturehouse on Hessle Road into a bustling bingo hall. Then later again, in 1970, they relocated to the Showboat (a fitting name) on Subway Street.
Evelyn and Billy may not have been millionaires, but they never took anything for granted. Their priorities were always happiness and fun. After having such a strong influence over the families of Hull, Mrs Gallagher will be greatly missed. She leaves behind daughters Kim and Diane, her son Andrew, and eight grandchildren.