A BIG-HEARTED group of eyes-down enthusiasts have brought the house down with a phenomenal fundraising effort.

Gourock woman Louise Hampsey and the 'Bingo Belters' have been playing virtual rounds of the game every Friday night since lockdown began.

The group started with Louise and her family and friends - and week by week grew rapidly to become a community of 360 people from all over Inverclyde.

To help people during lockdown, the Belters came up with a 'hit list' of community organisations and decided to donate 50 per cent of their prize pot to these groups in need.

Over £2,500 was generated from the bingo games alone and distributed in the form of cake boxes from Phil's Bakery in Gourock and cash donations.

The group also bought an iPad for patients in the COVID receiving ward at Inverclyde Royal.

Louise, 37, is very proud to have been at the helm of the group.

She said: "It started off with family and friends and it just took off.

"Everyone in the group nominated different charities and key worker organisations.

"We thought that the iPad for patients in the hospital would be good for people who had been separated from their families.

"It's been fabulous and I'm so glad I invested the time in it."

Louise called the numbers every week using a bingo game she has at home and everyone played along using their bingo cards.

As well as IRH and associated services, other Inverclyde organisations to benefit from the cash boost include Ardgowan Hospice, Compassionate Inverclyde, Larkfield View, Orchard View, Alt na Craig care home, Man On Inverclyde, Craigmarloch School, Children in Poverty Inverclyde, Kincaid House and the Richmond Fellowship.

Members of the group helped Louise with cake deliveries every week.

Louise, from Kingsway, also hosted a collection for Compassionate Inverclyde in May which raised £1,700.

The kind-hearted community fundraiser said that the bingo sessions have been a lifeline for people who were struggling during lockdown.

She added: "The laughs we've had on our Friday nights have raised the spirits of so many people.

"We made it into a social event and made sure everyone had their drinks ready every week.

"I’ve been bombarded with messages of thanks to say that the nights were the only form of communication and joy some people who have been shielding have had during lockdown.

"It helped bring families together and created a wee community.

"People have said it was a lifeline for them and gave them something to look forward to every week.

"I've had some lovely gifts from people thanking me for being the bingo queen.

"I've really enjoyed doing it."