Evening Telegraph (First Edition)
Children’s charity to benefit from lucky group
A GROUP of National Lottery winners with a combined worth of just under £90m have come together to build a new playhouse for a disabled children’s charity in Dundee.
The new building, at The Yard in Mid Craigie, will replace an old playhouse destroyed in a deliberate fire earlier this year.
Lottery winners – some worth tens of millions – spent two days painting and furnishing the jungle-themed playhouse.
Yesterday Tayport EuroMillions winners, led by Jim and Pam Forbes, presented the playhouse at The Yard, which provides adventure play services for disabled children, young people and their families.
Lottery winners wanted to build the new playhouse as quickly as possible
Jim said: “We just could not believe it when we heard about what had happened and immediately rallied the support of our fellow winners.
“Everyone has been so upset as we all understand what a vital lifeline this has been for so many in the area.
“We just wanted to build a new playhouse for the children as quickly as we possibly could.”
Their call to action was answered by fellow winners from across Scotland, including Lesley and Fred Higgins.
The couple, who now live in Perthshire, won £58m from the National Lottery in July 2018.
Lesley said: “We like to get involved as much as we can.
“Seeing the finished project today is amazing.
“I think the kids were devastated when they lost the last one.
“They’ll enjoy this. It’s a completely different theme and I think they’ll love it.”
The playhouse has been gratefully accepted by the children who use The Yard, with 9-year-old Lily McCann saying: “I feel good about it.
“T h e playhouse has colour and animals.
“Animals are so cool.”
Gill Thomson, service development manager at the charity, said: “As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
“We were gifted the first playhouse in 2018 and didn’t realise how important it was until it was gone.
“So quickly these guys have rallied around.
“It feels amazing to have the support of these lottery winners.
“It might just seem like a small thing to them but this is absolutely massive for us.”
What are Perthshire’s £58m couple doing now?
According to Lesley and Fred, it would be “an understatement” to say their National Lottery winning was life-changing.
The pair were living in Laurencekirk when they bought the lucky ticket, netting them £58m.
Following the win, Lesley left her job as an account manager at Montrose Port Authority, allowing the two to enjoy retirement as a couple.
They purchased a £430,000 penthouse overlooking the River Tay in Dundee just months after receiving their winnings, before buying a five-bedroom house in Broughty Ferry for £705,000 in May 2019.
In 2021, they snapped up an £8m Perthshire estate where they live now.
The couple now give a lot of their time to charity, with Lesley saying: “We’ve been supporting charities, particularly those involving children.”
Fred added: “We’ve also been helping people who have maybe had medical problems they couldn’t get fixed by the NHS.”
Despite their new lavish lifestyle, the couple say the biggest change has been the lack of stress they feel day-to-day.
Lesley said: “It’s very refreshing to have the financial security.
“It’s also great to be able to be able to help charities and to help other people.
“It gives you a buzz.”
Fred said: “I don’t think I have changed very much myself.
“I’m not better than him or you or anyone here.
“I think I haven’t changed greatly apart from that financial security that we now have.”