Team of lottery winners work together to deliver holiday gifts to charity workers
By Kate Northrop
A team of lottery winners from the United Kingdom have been working together to make Christmas happen a little earlier this year by gifting holiday baskets to charity workers and care staff who look after the elderly.
The group of winners, who have collectively won more than £26 million (US$34.8 million) from lottery prizes, got together to spread Christmas joy to carers who work with Age Concern Central Lancashire, a charity dedicated to helping those in need of mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and walking frames, and providing care to those suffering from loneliness, isolation, and dementia.
Under normal circumstances, the National Lottery rallies winners together around the holidays to support charities and perform acts of good will, but lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19 prevented the annual occurrence. To combat this, the winners took it upon themselves to create a group on the messenger app Whatsapp to organize a plan on their own.
So far, they have created at least 100 festive gift baskets to give to carers.
One of the winners who delivered gift baskets on Wednesday is Natalie Cunliffe of Blackpool, who won £1 million (US$1.34 million) from a National Lottery scratch-off in February 2016. Her husband was the one to purchase the ticket, but the windfall that they shared allowed her to leave her job and move into her dream home. As one of the lottery winners participating in the organized act of kindness, she also has a compelling reason to extend herself to others who do good for the community.
"My grandma is in a care home suffering with dementia," the mother of two said. "Carers are the ones that are with our loved ones when we can't be, especially this year, so it's just to show our thank you. You're not unrecognized; you are doing an amazing job."
Other winners partaking in spreading joy are Sharon and Nigel Mather of Bowdon, who won £12 million (US$16 million) in 2010, and Michele and Kevin Jones of Crewe, who took home £6 million (US$8 million) in 2016.
The gift baskets were quarantined after being put together and were then sent to Age Concern Central Lancashire's Dementia Day Support Centers located in Bamber Bridge and Fulwood, Preston.
"It's just been a lovely surprise," Norma Kirby, a carer, said after receiving a gift basket. "It's very nice because you do feel lonely a lot of the time, very lonely, but this is absolutely beautiful."
Norma cares for her husband, Barry, who had a stroke and currently suffers from dementia.
"Our family carers are at the core of our charity," Age Concern Central Lancashire CEO Suzanne Carr remarked. "They embody everything that we are passionate about, and we're incredibly proud of how well they have adapted over lockdown, overcoming the many personal challenges that carers often face on a daily basis. They are unsung heroes."
Carr took up the role of the charity's CEO in 2018 and estimates that 35,000 elderly are chronically lonely and isolated.
"We're extremely honored to be chosen by National Lottery winners to receive these beautiful festive hampers, and we know that our fantastic carers will truly appreciate a spot of early Christmas joy!"