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Community lottery winner donates prize to charity

The winner of Guildford Community Lottery's pre-Christmas draw said he had never won anything in his life - and then immediately donated his prize to Artventure learning disabilities charity in Merrow!

Steve James, who has worked for Artventure for over 20 years, won the Apple iPad Pro in the Lottery's special draw on Saturday 14 December. He said: "I was quite shocked when I heard, I thought it was a joke!"

Based at St Peter's School in Merrow, Artventure enables adults with learning disabilities, physical impairment and autism to be creative, have fun and make new friends - and Steve already has big plans for both his prize and the money raised for the charity through Community Lottery ticket sales.

"The Community Lottery has already been of great benefit to Artventure," said Steve. "We're putting some of the funds towards a day-trip to Brighton for the clients. The iPad will help us take photos and films and lots more, and it's coming with us to Brighton!"

Artists and volunteers support Artventure clients, building self-confidence, independence and creativity through painting, craft, pottery, sculpture and music. The work is often sold to raise further funds.

Lottery winner Mr James
James Whiteman, Managing Director of Guildford Borough Council, says: "The Guildford Community Lottery has been a great success in its first year, and we are delighted to see another local good cause benefiting from both the money raised by ticket sales and the commitment of its fantastic staff and volunteers. This is a brilliant gesture from Mr James.
 

"Local charities, community groups, sports and arts clubs, schools, scouts and guides are all getting involved. With 60% of proceeds from the tickets going direct to community groups, it's a fantastic way for local causes to raise money and engage their members and supporters, and we hope to see even more groups joining us in 2020."

Since the first draw in December 2018, Guildford Community Lottery, which boasts a top prize of £25,000, has raised £60,000 for 123 local charities and community organisations, through the sale of 100,000 tickets. Tickets cost just £1 per week, with 60% of all proceeds going to Guildford good causes - more than double the percentage donated by the National Lottery. All participating organisations also keep 50% of ticket sales from their own dedicated Community Lottery web page.

(Pictured: left to right, James Whiteman and Steve James.)

Published on Wednesday 15 January.