Lancashire charity hits a festive jackpot thanks to the region’s lottery winners

A team of lottery-winning festive elves from across Lancashire has been bringing some early Christmas cheer to carers.

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 12:30 pm

Among the millionaire members of the ‘hamper task force’ were Natalie Cunliffe, from Blackpool, who won £1m four years ago, and Ruth Breen, from Wigan, who won £1m in 2014.

They all wanted to ensure carers at Age Concern Central Lancashire were able to experience some special Christmas cheer this festive season.

The “elves” who were joined by other winners from across the North West, have created more than 100 luxury hampers for the carers, packing them with a range of goodies, as a heart-felt ‘thank you’ for all of the carers’ tireless work throughout the pandemic.

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Blackpool lottery winner Natalie Cunliffe has joined forces with other winners across Lancashire to pack festive hampers for Age Concern Central Lancashire. Here Natalie hands over some of the hampers to one of the carers, Norma Kirby, at the charity's day centre in Bamber Bridge. Picture: CAG Photography

Ruth said: “The efforts these carers go to, so selflessly and the sacrifices they make every day, to care and love, is incredible. I was absolutely thrilled to be involved in such a heart-warming project to say ‘thank you’ and show our appreciation for all they do.

“I absolutely love Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed creating the hampers. We all need a bit of festive cheer at the moment so it was fantastic to be able to help make Christmas arrive early!”

The winners, who would normally be brought together by The National Lottery in the run up to Christmas to help support various charities, adapted to the current lockdown by creating a Whatsapp group so they could work from their own homes but share ideas and creations with each other as they made their hampers.

Also joining the festive task force were some of the region’s biggest lottery winners, including Sharon and Nigel Mather, from Bowdon in Cheshire, who won £12M in 2010 and Michele and Kevin Jones, from Crewe, who won £6M in 2016.

Lottery winner Ruth Breen, from Wigan, poses with her dog as she shows-off ten Christmas hampers she’s made for carers with Age Concern Central Lancashire. Picture: Anthony Devlin

Other winners joining the production line included: Jane Wyatt, from Manchester, who won £1m in 2016; Tracy Birkbeck from Penrith, who won £370k in 2013; Annette Dawson, from Darwen, who won £1min 2015; Hilary and Geoff Bennette, from Rishton, who won £3.5m in 2011, and Patricia and John Gill, from Warrington, who won £1m in 2015.

The hampers, after being quarantined, were delivered to Age Concern Central Lancashire’s Dementia Day Support Centres in Bamber Bridge and Fulwood Preston, aboard a fabulous festive truck.

Set up in 1981, Age Concern Central Lancashire, which marks its 40th birthday next year, is dedicated to helping people across the county to live well and age well.

Suzanne Carr, CEO at Age Concern Central Lancashire, said: “Our family carers are at the core of our charity – 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!

“We’re extremely honoured 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!”

The support these winners are giving Age Concern Central Lancashire comes as The National Lottery teams up with ITV to encourage people to volunteer in their local community. ‘Miss Out To Help Out’ is a new campaign and website where anyone in the UK can get hints and tips on how to get started as well as information on volunteering opportunities nearby from charities and organisations. For more info, visit www.missouttohelpout.com

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