BINGO has returned to Ellesmere Port - a year after devastated locals thought it had gone forever.

New operator Club 3000 officially opened the doors to the newly revamped hall on Marina Drive on Friday evening and hundreds of people turned out for the event.

The company invested £1.3m in the building after the previous operator, Mecca, announced it was pulling out of the Port last September.

The fully air-conditioned club features a vibrant arcade full of the latest slot machines, large luxurious seating, a bar and food court which offers freshly-cooked food as well as cold snacks.

It can seat more than 750 customers and employs 35 staff.

It was a full house on the launch night with customers treated to a variety of entertainment, including a magician and a string quartet. Everyone also received bubbly and chocolates to thank them for being part of the celebration.

The venue was officially opened by Brian Fraser, the owner of Club 3000, who said: “We are delighted to launch our newest club here at Ellesmere Port, the club demonstrates how we lead the way as a modern day bingo operator. We welcome all our new customers to the Club 3000 family."

And Kevin Boden, general manager, added: “The opening was a fabulous evening the atmosphere was fantastic. I was thrilled to see so many customers at the event and would like to thank them for their support and my team who made it all happen on the night!”

Dozens of bingo fans had been left devastated when Mecca announced they were closing last year.

The hall had become a valued community asset over the past 40 years and 900 people signed a doomed petition aimed at persuading Mecca to stay.

MP Justin Madders said previously: “It’s really great to see this investment in our local area and I welcome Bingo 3000 to Ellesmere Port.

“I’m sure there are many looking forward to the opening in September and joining the Bingo community, which has been sorely missed by many players. I’m sure they will be impressed with the new facilities.”