CORONATION Street's Antony Cotton surprised bingo players at Mecca on Friday night as he became a celebrity bingo caller.

The actor, who plays Sean Tully in the ITV soap, took a leaf out of his on-screen character's book, who also played a bingo caller in 2005 until Vera accused him of cheating.

Dressed in smart jeans, a shirt, waistcoat and a suit jacket, the 38-year-old actor went on stage to a cheer from the crowd and took the teasing about his bingo calling style in good humour.

Antony, from Bury, came to help launch a new partnership between the Rank Group, housing Mecca and Grosvenor Casinos, and Carers Trust, which supports carers around the UK.

Three in five people will become an unpaid carer in their lifetime for a family member or loved one.

Antony said: "A shocking fact that I didn’t realise is that three in five people will end up being an un paid carer, whether that be for a family member, partner or friend.

“It’s kind of extraordinary when you think about it. It’s something that you don’t really like to think about, but before you know it somebody could have a fall, not recover quickly enough, contract an MRSA – I know someone that happened to – and then before you know it they end up incapacitated.

“But they often can’t afford to pay for a carer, because they are expensive, so people are having to be a carer for a loved one and there’s no support for them unless they get help from the Carers’ Trust.

“And on top of that, I do love a game of bingo. My character Sean was a bingo caller many years ago in Corrie so I did my rounds of bingo halls at the time and I do love bingo.”

After two rounds of bingo calling Antony then had a game himself before hitting a heart-shaped piñata, which symbolised banging the gong for the new partnership between the Rank Group and Carers’ Trust.

Luen Thompson, head of marketing and communications at Carers Trust said: "The partnership is going to be banging the gong for unpaid carers around the country and raising money to help give something back to them, whether it be a weekend break away or a new washing machine."

Rank Cares manager Cherry Tatlow added: "Carers Trust has never had a corporate partner before so we want to help make a difference in the community by raising money and volunteering to help carers."

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