Eyes down again for a full house

By Patrick LowmanA COUNCILLOR at the centre of a storm over a bingo session has stepped down from a club that organises the games, paving the way for it to reopen.

By Patrick Lowman

A COUNCILLOR at the centre of a storm over a bingo session has stepped down from a club that organises the games, paving the way for it to reopen.

Great Cornard Parish Council had suspended the use of its community drop-in centre for the Tuesday afternoon bingo club.

The move came after parish councillor Carol Beer, 57, received a police warning for allegedly shoving her disabled neighbour, Molly Kirby, 56, following a disagreement during one of the sessions.

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But the council has now agreed, following an emergency meeting, to allow a volunteer bingo committee to run the sessions.

The incident between Miss Beer and Ms Kirby, a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer, erupted at the centre as they prepared refreshments for the bingo on May 25.

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Ms Kirby called the police after she alleged the councillor had shoved her off her feet twice, sending her crashing into tables and leaving her bruised.

Although Miss Beer accepted a police warning, she denied the shove had been hard and dismissed the incident as nothing but a “tiff between two women”.

Last week the parish council suspended the use of the centre for bingo sessions until further notice, but insisted the decision had nothing to do with the incident involving Miss Beer.

Parish council vice-chairman, Humphrey Todd, said the decision to suspend the bingo club had been taken because it needed to discuss how the volunteers would run the sessions from now on.

Volunteers who help run the bingo session said the council's decision to suspend the use of the centre was disgusting.

On Tuesday afternoon they held the bingo session in the back garden of the club's secretary, Jackie Cowling, in protest at the council's decision.

But members of the parish council met with the volunteers on Thursday and it was agreed a new committee could take over the club in light of Miss Beer's decision to step down.

Chairman of the new committee, Sabiha Pettitt, said: “I am glad the situation has finally been resolved.

“We are delighted the bingo sessions can now continue and we would like to take this opportunity to invite people along.

“Although Miss Beer has stepped down, she is still welcome to come along and take part.”

Ms Kirby, who lives just two doors away from Miss Beer, has complained to the Standards Board for England over the councillor's alleged behaviour.


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