A PUB in Blaenavon has helped raise thousands of pounds in order to help patients at the nearby Nevill Hall Hospital and residents at Arthur Jenkins Care Home.

After the Queen Victoria Inn, on Prince Street, closed due to government regulations, Heather Cox and Roz Robertson decided they would continue to connect the community, while raising money for local causes.

Through the pub’s raffles and bingo nights, they have bought nine Samsung tablets for patients at Nevill Hall Hospital to use to contact their loved ones – as families are unable to visit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They also donated a cheque of £1,050 to help the hospital buy vital equipment of patients and staff.

This week, the pair delivered two iPads for the residents at Arthur Jenkins Care Home to connect with their families, with the care home currently unable to take visitors.

“At first we posted on Facebook about being a drop off point for anyone wishing to donate toiletries for patients and staff in ITU and Covid-19 wards as they are unable to have visitors,” said Ms Cox. “Local nurses from Nevill Hall would come and collect it and take in to work.

“Then we decided to host a free bingo to lift the community’s spirits. We had just started doing bingo nights in the pub before the lockdown.

“It went from free bingo every night at 8pm which we provided small prizes for.

“People then started donating prizes, so we decided on a Sunday night it would be a paid bingo night, and we did small raffles to raise funds to help towards getting respirators.

“Within nine days we had £1,050 which we presented to Nevill Hall.

“It has lifted everyone’s spirit and the children really look forward to playing the free bingo.

“We have 171 players now and even have family and friends from as far away as Hull, Birmingham, Sunderland , Manchester, Scotland and even a family from Portugal playing and donating money towards our fund.

“There were people in intensive care from Blaenavon with coronavirus, and their families weren’t able to contact them.

“After hearing this, we decided to do something.

“But it’s not just us. The community have been coming together, donating prizes and raising the money for them.

“It’s nice to see the community all coming together.”

If you would like to join in, free bingo sessions are held every night at 8pm on the ‘Queens lockdown bingo’ page on Facebook, with a paid bingo evening on Saturdays.