IT was the end of an era at Angel Bingo in Devizes on Friday evening when it was eyes down for the last time.

A total of 147 people turned out for final session for bingo in the hall below the Palace Cinema in the Market Place.

Fittingly owner John Angel, 78, was at the hall to say his own goodbyes to stalwart fans who turned out in force.

Mr Angel's assistant Simon Manners, said: "It was sad and there were a few tears. But it was nice to exchange stories and to remember the good times. One lady has been coming here for 37 years.

"Quite a few others show told how they have been friends for 18 years but they first met through the bingo. There was a lot of hugging and kissing. It was the most people to come to a session for years. The atmosphere was mixed as people are sad the bingo is closing and they are not sure where they will go now but it is good for the town that the cinema will continue."

Bognor-based Picturedrome owned by Adam Cunard has bought the building and is expected to take over by the end of the month.

Mr Manners said: "The cinema will be handed over as a going concern. Mr Angel is very pleased that it is not going to be turned into a supermarket or something or mothballed but will continue to be a cinema. Adam has a very good track record of doing similar schemes in other market towns."

Mr Cunard said the existing cinema will be given a facelift with new seating and a new screen and later he wants to incorporate the bingo hall and add an extra screen.

He expects to spend around £2 million over the next two years on the project. He already owns seven cinemas across the south of England where he keeps standards high and prices low.

He said: "Devizes is a town where we will fit in well."

Mr Manners, who has worked at the cinema for 14 years, said he did not know what his own working future would hold. He said: "Until now I have not thought about it but I suppose I will have to make it a priority."

Mr Angel has been involved with the bingo hall in Devizes for 37 years but has been in the business since 1964.