Life changing

Saying a special thank you to a National Lottery funded hero

The National Lottery’s ‘Big Surprise’ – which honours the individuals who have made a real difference with the help of National Lottery funding, kicks off this Saturday (2nd June) on ITV at 8:20pm with a heartwarming surprise for Ali Waterworth, founder of North Yorkshire-based project, Ruddi’s Retreat.

National Lottery funded Ruddi’s Retreat provides respite holidays for families with seriously ill young children. Founder Ali Waterworth started the charity after her son Ruddi developed a rare cancer at six months old. He needed a year of intensive treatment, including three months in America, which took a huge toll, emotionally, physically and financially on the family. During that time a charity provided them with a much needed holiday, which unbeknown to Ali at the time, would be the inspiration for Ruddi’s Retreat.

Thanks to National Lottery funding the charity has provided hundreds of families with short holidays away in a caravan to recharge their batteries. Having been through so much as a family and then given so much to other families who are in need, The National Lottery decided that Ali deserved a little surprise to show her just how grateful so many families are for all that she’s done for them.

Friends in Cahoots

Working with Vicki from Ruddi’s Retreat and Ali’s husband Craig we gathered together a restaurant full of families that Ali has helped, but never met. Craig then took his lovely wife out for dinner. Take a look at what happened next...

Watch as Ali gets more than she ordered

"It's all been crazy, surrounded by people that I've helped I can't believe it!"

Ali was completely overwhelmed with the surprise. The caravans that Ruddi’s Retreat uses are located miles away from the charity's offices so this surprise gave Ali a chance to meet those people that she and all the team at Ruddi’s Retreat have helped.

Don’t forget to watch out for our next surprise as part of the new Lotto Results on ITV on Saturday nights, in the advert break at 8:15pm.

Over the last 23 years we’ve created over 5,000 millionaires and funded more than 535,000 National Lottery projects - discover more life-changing stories.

Discover more
Please wait