Lesley’s big win buys her parrots ‘aviary’ nice home
They must be Hampshire’s luckiest parrots. Alfie and Sonny – a pair of African Greys – are living in their own air-conditioned room at a house in Basingstoke thanks to the amazing £2Million prize their owner won on The National Lottery.
Animal lover Lesley Herbert, 44, vowed to use her incredible Scratchcard prize to buy a house big enough for her 4 children, 2 dogs and 2 parrots. True to her word, her kids and her pets now live together in a 5-bedroom house on the outskirts of the city.
Lesley said, “People may think I’m crazy but my animals are very much part of the family so making sure they also benefited from the win is really important to me. Once the children had chosen their rooms, there was one spare which I decided to turn into the Parrot Room.”
Sparing no expense, Lesley set out to create a haven as close as possible to equatorial Africa, the natural habitat for African Greys like Alfie and Sonny. Bespoke flooring, plenty of plants and toys and an air-conditioning system ensures the birds are living in the lap of luxury.
Lesley said, “I know it’s not the jungles of Africa but the parrots seem to be very happy in their room and the freedom they enjoy. While I have tried to keep it as natural as possible, there’s one element that’s not quite so natural, a flat screen TV. Both birds love watching the TV, and for some unknown reason their favourite viewing is Dog the Bounty Hunter, they go wild for him!
“When I tell people that I have a room for my parrots at home you can tell they think I am crazy but, while fast cars and jewellery are top of some people’s ‘when I win the lottery’ list, for me it’s all about giving my family the best and happiest home, and that includes my parrots.”
Lesley has never forgotten the moment she won her big prize in March 2021. She said, “My very first rescue parrot had just dislocated her foot and I was worried about her, so I popped into the shop to get some spinach and instead treated myself to a chocolate bar and a Scratchcard!
“Thank goodness I did. That decision has changed mine and my children’s lives beyond our wildest dreams, and I like to think for my pet parrots too!”
While Lesley’s first rescue parrot, Bibi, passed away soon after her win, she has rehomed another African Grey whose elderly owner had died. Lesley said, “At some point in the future I want to establish a shelter for abandoned animals, but with Sonny it seems this happened a little sooner than anticipated.”
It’s not just the parrots who have been spreading their wings since the win. Lesley attended a fear of flying course to overcome a long held phobia and has taken the whole family to Disney World in Florida.
She said, “Before my fear of flying wasn’t really a problem, I wasn’t in a position to jet off around the world. But when I won I decided that I wasn’t going to let my phobia stand in my way. I’m so pleased I did, that first family trip to Florida was incredible and since then I have enjoyed plenty of European trips. Not only have I made incredible memories on these trips, I’ve gained so much confidence as a result of my travels and I’m excited to see more of this fabulous world.”
2nd August 2023
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