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COMMUNITY GENEROSITY: National Lottery Winners Bring Joy To Hundreds of Newcastle Schoolchildren

COMMUNITY GENEROSITY: National Lottery Winners Bring Joy To Hundreds of Newcastle Schoolchildren

Image: National Lottery

A team of creative National Lottery winners have been putting their skills to good use during the latest lockdown – making and painting dozens of beautiful bird boxes for a school in Newcastle.

Their talents have culminated in a giant art mural at Thomas Bewick School in West Denton, which looks after children and young adults with autism.

Pupils at the school will now be able to watch the birds nest and even the chicks hatch via a special internal camera system which has been installed in one of the boxes.

Kate and Darren Donaghey, from Newcastle, scooped £1M on a National Lottery Scratchcard in 2018. Their win has made dreams come true for both themselves and their two children, Dakota, five and Jaxon, nine who both have autism and are pupils at Thomas Bewick School.

Kate said, “When we won the lottery, this provided a real lifeline for Darren and myself to be able to provide the very best for our children.

“Charity has always been close to our hearts and we love to get involved with lots of charity projects with other lottery winners – something which we normally do several times a year.

“As we have not been able to get together as winners because of lockdown, we have all been taking part in lots of virtual projects. The bird box project has been wonderful – it is fantastic to have been able to do something for the school and something which will bring so much pleasure to hundreds of schoolchildren.”

Fellow National Lottery winner, Elaine Thompson, from Newcastle, who won £2.7M in 1995, has also been donning her creative skills. She added, “It has been such a fun project to be a part of.

“All of the winners have been sharing their creations online and inspiring each other. It is such a joy to be able to do something like this, knowing the pleasure it is going to bring to so many young people.”

Daley Barber-Allen, Headteacher at Thomas Bewick School, said, “We are absolutely delighted to have been asked to be a part of this project.
“Our pupils really enjoy practical, hands on learning and this is going to be a fantastic way for them to learn about life cycles.
“Our staff are very excited about it too! We cannot wait to see the finished product.”

Demmi Robinson, from Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said the bird boxes will most definitely bring smiles to hundreds of faces, while proving to be educational at the same time.

Demmi added, “While the future residents of these wonderful nest boxes won’t know they were constructed by a multimillionaire taskforce, we hope they will play a key role in supporting local wildlife.

“This is the first time we have come across a project of this nature and we are sure it will bring lots of pleasure to the schoolchildren.”
Winners have also handed over more than 40 bird boxes to the school to enable the children to make their own creations and then place these in their gardens at home.

Marie Butler from The Wildlife Trusts said, “This is a lovely initiative! We’re delighted to work with the National Lottery whose winners are offering new homes for our feathered friends.

“We’re grateful to the lottery winners for their hard work but it’s to players of The National Lottery that we are most grateful. With every ticket they buy, players are helping Wildlife Trusts just like ours to give a new lease of life to wildlife and wild places and engage with local communities and individuals.

“Nationally, since its launch in 1994 more than £338 million in National Lottery funding has helped support 46 Wildlife Trusts in the UK to deliver projects for nature’s recovery across all four Nations.”

Nest box building is the latest volunteering project National Lottery winners have been involved with. Since the start of the pandemic, winners have pooled their resources to create fresh vegetable planter boxes for schools and NHS workers as well as knitting twiddlemuffs for people with dementia, making small garments for premature babies and creating Christmas angels and hampers for local charities.

Thanks to National Lottery players, over £1BN is being used by charities and organisations affected by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, which includes over £600M in funding support from the National Lottery Community Fund which is being used to help groups best placed to support people and communities through the crisis.

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