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Lottery winner hits back at school bullies

UK National LotteryUK National Lottery: Lottery winner hits back at school bullies
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Charmaine Watson makes an unlikely theatrical impresario. At the age of 31, she lives in a modest home in Eynsham, a backwater of Oxfordshire. Yet this year the quietly spoken woman, who has never been abroad, has decided to step into the backstage world of the musicals she has always loved.

Watson's daring move has been made possible by a large lottery win that has given her a new purpose in life. A victim of sustained bullying during her school days, Watson is now using a large chunk of the money she won to finance a rock musical with an anti-bullying message that opens in London next month.

"The songs in this show make you feel you can achieve anything you want to," she said. "I have always been one to go to every show I can and I'm really hoping that this will change some of the lives in the audience. If one child watches it and feels able to tell their parents or teachers about bullying, this will be the best lottery money I could ever have spent."

The show, Stand Tall, is directed by Simon Greiff, who took the hit Queen musical We Will Rock You on tour, while the musical supervisor is Peter White, who directed the orchestra for the anniversary production of Les Misérables at the Barbican last year.

Like Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Stand Tall started as a show for schools, based on the David and Goliath story. "We are living the dream now because of all the interest," said the show's publicist, Michael Dove.

"I approached Charmaine to see if she was interested in investing, partly because she was local to us in Oxfordshire. She really bought into the show when she heard the music and that's why we made her associate producer."

Written by Lee Wyatt-Buchan, Aldie Chalmers and Sandy Chalmers, the musical has already won a Princess Diana anti-bullying award for its message. The author Philip Pullman was one of its early fans and West End producers became interested two years ago.

Watson's decision to invest £20,000 in Stand Tall was due to the bullying she endured at secondary school, an experience that caused her to suffer a complete loss of confidence, she says. "I was just the wrong face in the crowd. I was shy and they made fun of me for living in a council house, for my weight, my height, my hair colour – everything. They picked on me every day for five years and I hated going to school so much that I would make myself physically sick. One day I just ran home crying into my mother's arms and she contacted the school. It took years for me to recover."

Watson's £2.3m lottery win came six years ago when she was struggling to bring up her first child, Ryan, on her own. "My grandad started buying me a lottery ticket every Wednesday after my 16th birthday, but that week he checked the wrong numbers," she said. "On Friday, my phone was ringing from about five in the morning because my grandmother had checked them again. I went round to their house with my son and they held up the numbers to show me."

Watson still feels shocked by her luck. "Even now it hasn't sunk in. I am overwhelmed that I can give my children things I never had. I bought a home for my son and me, and I bought my mother her home too."

Just before her big win, Watson began a relationship with an old friend, Robby, and the couple, now married, have two children together, Georgia and Daniel. She has recently trained as a florist and hopes to open a shop in the area.

"I spoke to my bank manager about investing in Stand Tall and he explained the risks, but I decided to take it into my own hands," she said.

Watson plans to attend the premiere at a south London theatre next month. But if the show goes on to tour abroad, like We Will Rock You or Les Misérables, she will have to get her first passport.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

The Observer

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24 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by Hermanus104.
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kyokushin187's avatar - evildead2
cornwall,ct
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Posted: September 19, 2011, 11:20 am - IP Logged

She wouldn't look bad if she lost about 200 lbs. Now that she has money she will make that a priority

    hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

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    Posted: September 19, 2011, 11:46 am - IP Logged

    well I wish her tons of luck .........

      cbr$'s avatar - maren
      Cordova,Al.
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      Posted: September 19, 2011, 1:14 pm - IP Logged

      US Flagcongrat's to Charmaine Watson for taking on the bulling issue something that is all to common in our schools , I hope this play actually make it to the USA . She really need a passport . I also hope it done in many different languages.

        Avatar
        New Jersey
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        Posted: September 19, 2011, 1:56 pm - IP Logged

        US Flagcongrat's to Charmaine Watson for taking on the bulling issue something that is all to common in our schools , I hope this play actually make it to the USA . She really need a passport . I also hope it done in many different languages.

        I Agree! I applaud her for taking a negative experience from her childhood and using her lottery winnings to turn it into something positive - not just for herself but for all the kids out there who are dealing with bullies.  CBS aired a special on bullycide last week and the stories of kids who committed suicide were just heartbreaking.  Her investment of $20,000 is really not much compared to all the good it can do to bring more awareness to the public via this musical play.  I hope the financial return on her investment will be tenfold or even a hundredfold.

        Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping

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          New Jersey
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          Posted: September 19, 2011, 2:11 pm - IP Logged

          She wouldn't look bad if she lost about 200 lbs. Now that she has money she will make that a priority

          I realize that some people prefer looks over substance but what a silly thing to say in response to this news story.  If you actually read the article you would know that Mrs. Watson's £2.3m lottery win did not just happened - it was six years ago.   Obviously losing 200 pounds wasn't a priority then and I doubt it's a priority now No Nod

          Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping

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            Orlando, FL
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            Posted: September 19, 2011, 3:07 pm - IP Logged

            Bullying is bad for bad for sure. an epidemic nowadays

              hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

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              Posted: September 19, 2011, 4:42 pm - IP Logged

              Bullying is bad for bad for sure. an epidemic nowadays

              sure compared to the olden days a million more ways to attack a person and or group

                maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
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                Posted: September 19, 2011, 5:34 pm - IP Logged

                I dont know what childhood could be like without bullying. I mean, bullying builds character and toughens weaklings. I was bullied and I did some bullying myself. This helicopter parenting, where parents just cannot stop hovering around in every moment of their kids lives, is getting bizzare by the day. I believe that kids of the same age should be let to sort out their differences.

                That money's gone fo ever

                  ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
                  Idaho
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                  Posted: September 19, 2011, 6:01 pm - IP Logged

                  I dont know what childhood could be like without bullying. I mean, bullying builds character and toughens weaklings. I was bullied and I did some bullying myself. This helicopter parenting, where parents just cannot stop hovering around in every moment of their kids lives, is getting bizzare by the day. I believe that kids of the same age should be let to sort out their differences.


                  I disagree with you. Bullying leads to people taking or trying to take their lives in quiet a few cases. Honestly I don't really want to say it, but I was one of those people. And as someone who was bullied horribably in school, it didn't give me character. It made my life a living hell and caused me extreme anguish that effects me to this day.

                  "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

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                    New Jersey
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                    Posted: September 19, 2011, 6:08 pm - IP Logged

                    I dont know what childhood could be like without bullying. I mean, bullying builds character and toughens weaklings. I was bullied and I did some bullying myself. This helicopter parenting, where parents just cannot stop hovering around in every moment of their kids lives, is getting bizzare by the day. I believe that kids of the same age should be let to sort out their differences.

                    Did you have the internet when you were a child?  When you were a kid, did you come home from school, go on your FB page or whatever and read alot of nasty comments from your schoolmates in addition to the physical bullying you experienced while at school?  And        if a kid commits suicide after enduring that kind of physical/cyberbullying, do you still think its okay because bullying builds character and toughens weaklings or do you just consider that nature's way of weeding out the weak from the strong?  Get real   .....   it's a new day and what's goes on now is much different than what you may have experienced as a child.

                    Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping


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                      Posted: September 19, 2011, 7:02 pm - IP Logged

                                 " i still want to be rich"US Flag/ be right back got to go buy some ticket's   Lolllllllllllllllllllllllllllll   / i want to help the homeless oneday.RazzEmbarassed

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                        Posted: September 19, 2011, 7:25 pm - IP Logged

                        Congratulations to you! Great piece! Sun Smiley

                          rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                          Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
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                          Posted: September 19, 2011, 8:20 pm - IP Logged

                          Kids can be vicious to each other.

                          And now that the touchy-feely libs will have you thrown in jail for spanking your child, kids are more vicious than ever.

                          Kids need their asses beat by their parents at a certain age to make them understand the norms of acceptable behavior in society.

                          But the libs teach the kids to call the cops if a parent spanks them.

                          And therein lies the problem.

                           

                          I hope this nice lady's efforts have some effect on bullying but I doubt they will.

                          Spare the rod and spoil the child.


                                                                       
                                               
                                                                   

                           

                           

                           

                           

                                                                                                                             

                          "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                      --Edmund Burke

                           

                           

                            tiggs95's avatar - Lottery-036.jpg

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                            Posted: September 19, 2011, 8:44 pm - IP Logged

                            This sweet lady was to drop a few hundred thou tiggs way she could spank tiggs all night...long and hard!..mmmmmmmm

                                                                                      Pure luck