Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Lottery winners tidy hospice garden

A group of 20 green-fingered lottery winners have helped transform a garden at a children's hospice in Scotland

Green-fingered lottery winners have picked up their trowels and watering cans to help transform a garden at a children's hospice.

The team of 20, who have a combined fortune of almost £30 million, spent the day planting colourful flowers outside the Children's Hospice Association Scotland's (Chas) Robin House hospice near Balloch, West Dunbartonshire.

When they arrived, the piece of scrub ground next to the car park was lying bare but they tidied it up and made it over with yellow sunflowers and green shrubs. As well as their time and labour, the winners donated the funds for the garden's materials.

Chas supports 300 families across Scotland with children who have life-shortening or degenerating conditions, providing both residential and "at-home" care. Its hospices at Robin House and Rachel House, in Kinross, each have space to accommodate eight children and their families at any one time.

Barry Little, 34, from Dumfries, scooped £1 million on the National Lottery in January. He said: "We've come along to help the charity because we feel like we want to give something back and help a good cause. We know what they do here and all the hard work that goes on inside, and we thought we should give something back rather than sitting back, watching other people do it.

"It's a good day and it's nice to see the rewards that the children can benefit from. When we got here the piece of land was just plain shrubs with no colour, and now it's colourful and fresh. Hopefully the children will like it and so will the parents."

Mr Little said winning the life-changing sum of money earlier this year has taken some adjusting to for him and his wife, Roberta. He said "We've taken a wee while to adapt - we're slowly but surely getting there and we're just starting to make plans now. We're just taking our time so that we get it right."

William McKenna, 54, who lives with his wife Alison, 56, in Kilcreggan, Argyll, said: "It was actually my mother-in-law's cousin Richard Rennie, a local farmer, who donated the land to Chas back in 2005 so we really wanted to get involved and donate our time to help makeover the gardens. It's been very rewarding to see the difference it will make to the hospice and, as a keen gardener myself, it's been a privilege to contribute to its ongoing transformation."

The couple won £1.1 million on the lottery in 2012 and have recently bought a new house in Balloch.

Chas relationship manager Gill Levy said: "The gardens here provide peace and tranquility for the children and their families while they are staying with us and it makes such a difference to see a burst of colour during the summer months."

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