Millionaires ‘unleash’ their skills to help assistance dog project

A holiday home owned by a project that trains assistance dogs for adults living with physical disabilities has been given a new ‘leash’ of life by a team of National Lottery winners.

The two-bedroom bungalow at Canine Partners’ National Training Centre in rural Leicestershire, was ‘paws-itively’ transformed by the hardworking winners. It will be rented out to individuals and families who use assistance dogs, providing National Lottery-funded Canine Partners with money to train more dogs.

The team of 30 winners transformed the building’s interior and exterior. They painted walls, built furniture and put up blinds and lights. Outside, fences were painted, gates were repaired, patios were pressure-washed and the lawn was mowed. The winners even planted dog-friendly herbs in the garden so the project’s clever canines can enjoy a range of soothing smells.

Michelle Edwards from Somerset, who won £1.9Million on Lotto in 2008, is no stranger to Canine Partners’ life-changing work. After her incredible win she became one of the project’s ‘Puppy Parent volunteers’ who look after puppies while they wait for a placement.

Michelle said, “I’ve always loved dogs and I became a ‘Puppy Parent volunteer’ in 2009. I was handed a Golden Retriever puppy, Xagan, just two years after winning. It's such a fulfilling role and I’m delighted to help out with my fellow winners and help transform this bungalow which I know will be loved by many visitors.”

Leading the painting team were Ruth and Peter Doyle from Wiltshire who won £1Million on EuroMillions in 2015. Peter is a painter and decorator and the couple are devoted dog lovers who have fostered stray dogs from Romania and volunteered at a rescue centre in Spain.

Peter said, “We love dogs and our win enabled us to spend more time with ours and helping others. We are in awe of the work of Canine Partners and were delighted to travel up today from Wiltshire to be here. Their training of dogs helps so many people and to help them transform this holiday home with other winners is a privilege.”

Also lending a helping hand were Paul Kibler and his wife Marie from Sutton Coldfield who won £2.1Million on Lotto in 2012. Paul, a landscape gardener, directed his team to paint fences, trim hedges, plant hanging baskets and install the herb garden.

Paul said, “The garden is the perfect suntrap for reading a book, barbequing or just chatting with family, all in the middle of beautiful countryside. I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone, it simply feels great to be able to make a difference and to support the work of an amazing charity.”

The team’s most recent winner was Deb Burgess from Leicester who won £1Million on Lotto in 2023. She said, “I never knew that winning the National Lottery would mean I would get involved with amazing projects like this. I cannot believe how the dogs are trained and do so many helpful jobs for their partners.”

Deb added, “I was a bit nervous to meet all the other winners. It really isn’t the case that winning the National Lottery is all about posh holidays and flash cars. They are all just normal people who had a bit of luck. I’ve already made friendships for life, I now have a new National Lottery family and I can’t wait for the next project.”

Canine Partners CEO Alex Lochrane said, “A huge thank you to The National Lottery winners who have worked tirelessly to help transform our bungalow. As a charity we rely on the support and goodwill of people and organisations to train our life-changing assistance dogs. But our relationships don’t end there. By having this bungalow refurbished and available to our partners and their families we can not only generate vital income but also stay in touch with those families long after our dogs have been placed.”

13th May 2024

The National Lottery has been changing the lives of winners and supporting good causes across the UK since 1994. In that time, there have been more than 7,200 new millionaires created and by playing The National Lottery you raise over £4 million for Good Causes every dayΔ.

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