A WOMAN has credited bingo to giving her a purpose in life, after being left crushed since caring for her terminally ill mother.

Susan Calleja uses the game to help others after joining the Byron Road Community Centre in Colne.

Ms Calleja, also from Colne, said when her mother died she found it hard to to day-to-day tasks and socialise with other people.

She said: "Bingo saved my life.

"After mum died I felt really lonely but bingo gave me a reason to leave the house again and gave me something to look forward to.

"I’ve developed a close group of friends and now we want to help other people.”

Ms Calleja had initially been going to bingo as a player, but when the manager fell ill two years ago she stepped up to the caller's plate.

The bingo group has gone on from strength to strength and has seen membership grow by more than double.

The group has now grown into a close community of friends that have their own Christmas party and regular social outings.

This includes afternoon tea parties and meals out.

Its members have said they found their mental health and wellbeing had improved after taking part in group activities.

The bingo sessions take place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1pm to 3pm, and a secondary session has started on Thursdays from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

This includes afternoon tea parties and meals out.

Ms Calleja said: "We hope the evening session will boost our membership even further by attracting people who work through the day.

"We welcome any new members, young and old, and hope to see some new faces at this evening slot.

"We all know that this bingo group has helped us and we want to use that to pay it forward and help others."

In addition to promoting the health and wellbeing benefits of bingo to other people, the bingo group also raises funds for several charities.

The group has donated to Pendle Dogs in Need, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, the North West Air Ambulance and Pendleside Hospicel.

The group has has managed to raise £700 for the charities and Ms Calleja said everyone wants to help as many people as possible.

Currently the group is raising money for Chorley-based Derian House Children's Hospice, which provides children with life-limiting conditions, and their families, with respite and support.