THE oldest hospice lottery in the country run by St Catherine’s has begun an exciting new chapter – with the first draw of its new regime made by football pundit Mark Lawrenson.
The weekly lottery, where players can scoop a top prize of £2,000 for the price of a £1 ticket,has now moved in-house to the Lostock Hall-based hospice, with the weekly draw managed by the dedicated team.
Throughout its 21 year history, the system had been managed by an external company, but now, with developments in technology and the availability of new software, St Catherine’s can handle it themselves.
It will result in vital savings for the charity, which has to raise £3.7m of its £5m running costs each year through charitable support - including via the 15,000 members who play the lottery each week.
The first draw in the new system took place on Friday October 24 and was carried out by former Preston North End and Liverpool defender turned BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson.
The lucky winner of the main prize was from Euxton, while further cash prizes of between £250 and £10 were handed out across Chorley, Preston and South Ribble.
Mark, who began his football career playing for the Lilywhites, said: “I’m delighted to be here today to carry out the first in-house draw for the St Catherine’s Hospice lottery.
“It’s wonderful to see local charities embracing new technology and working in new ways to generate the most money possible.
“The services St Catherine’s provides are vital to our community - caring for local families who are going through extremely difficult times. The hospice lottery is a fantastic way to raise funds because not only do players know they are contributing to such an important cause, but they’re also in with the chance of picking up a top prize.”
After making the draw, he met with patients on the in-patient unit and in day therapy, including Ken Parry who used to play cricket with Mark’s father Tom.
Mark added: “What a small world. It was great to chat with Ken and to meet others experiencing the care of St Catherine’s - hearing more about the difference it is making to them, and seeing how the money raised through the lottery is being put to great use.”
Ken, 87, said: “I played with several clubs in the Ashton area and I remember Tom through that. Now, I watch Mark on TV and listen to him on the radio so it was great to meet him.
“I’ve not been to St Catherine’s for a few weeks because of being in hospital for an operation, but it was great to come back. I enjoy getting out of the house and meeting with other people here.”
Sheila Kennard, Head of Promotions at St Catherine’s Hospice who has worked in the department for the past 17 years, said: “It is a very exciting time for the lottery team at St Catherine’s as we look ahead to a new chapter, and it was extra special to welcome Mark Lawrenson along to make our very first draw.
“Things have changed a lot since I first joined the team when there wasn’t a computer in sight in our office. This latest development will help us to become even more efficient and self-sufficient, making the most out of every £1 which is played for the benefit of our patients and their families.”
You can also sign up to the lottery by visiting www.stcatherines.co.uk, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01772 695298.