Friday, 20 November 2009

A whole Lotto change since November 1994

It’s hard to believe that The National Lottery is 15 years old this month. Since Noel Edmonds hosted the first live draw on BBC 1 on 19 November 1994, over 2,300 millionaires have been created and more than £35 billion paid out in prize money.

Around 70 per cent of the UK’s adult population regularly play Lottery games and some four million winners scoop a prize every week – from £1 to multi-million pound jackpots.

But they aren’t the only ones feeling the benefit, The National Lottery has become a force for social good unlike any other. In fact, it’s created the biggest programme of civic regeneration in the UK since the Victorian era.

Since 1994, Lottery players have raised over £23 billion for Good Causes, making The National Lottery and its players the world’s biggest philanthropists. Over 25,000 Lottery grants have been awarded in Wales alone to arts, sports, heritage, education, environment, health, charity and voluntary projects, making a huge difference to communities across the country.

As the Lottery turns 15 this week, here are 15 things you might not know:

  1. Noel Edmonds hosted the first draw show on 19 November 1994 and over 21.5 million people tuned in
  2. 38 is the most frequently drawn number – drawn 251 times since 1994. The unluckiest number is 13, having been drawn the least
  3. A host of famous faces have presented the Lottery Draw Show through the years, including Gethin Jones, Jenni Falconer, Eamonn Holmes, Dale Winton, Myleene Klass, Denise Van Outen and the late Bob Monkhouse. The ‘voice of the balls’, Alan Dedicoat has been there from the start
  4. The biggest Welsh Lottery winners are Les and Sam Scadding of Newport, who have just scooped £45.6m. In 2007 Jenny Southall won £8.3 million with a ticket from the same shop. Pat Griffiths from Abergavenny won £8,485,162 in January 2004, Mary Jones from Bala won £9,382,496 in January 2004 and John Stinchcombe and John Ackerman from Crumlin shared a £11,544,846 jackpot in July 2006
  5. Queen Elizabeth I set up the first British National Lottery in 1566
  6. Over £23 billion of Lottery funding has been raised for ‘Good Causes’, which equates to an average of £25 million a week. To put this into perspective, Children in Need, which has received Lottery funding, raised £38million in its 2008 annual appeal
  7. Nearly half of all Lottery grants awarded are for less than £5,000
  8. Every public library in the UK has been able to go online thanks to Lottery funding
  9. Nearly £10 million Lottery funding has gone into redeveloping arts centres, galleries and theatres across Wales which has transformed and invigorated many Welsh communities
  10. Thanks to Lottery funding, over £45 million has been invested in land and biodiversity projects in Wales, conserving an area the size of over 1,300 rugby pitches
  11. More than £35 million of Lottery funding has been awarded to projects celebrating Wales’ industrial heritage such as Big Pit at Blaenavon
  12. £50 million of Lottery funding has been invested in refurbishing and building PE and sports facilities for schools and communities across Wales
  13. Lottery funding has enabled over 42,000 WWII veterans to revisit sites around the world where they served during the war
  14. Lottery funding is pivotal to the UK’s sporting successes, aiding many of our sporting heroes of recent years, including Welsh gold medalist Cyclist Nicole Cooke. In fact, 437 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won by British athletes since Lottery funding began, with the Beijing Olympics bringing home the best medal haul for 100 years
  15. On average over 100 Lottery grants have been awarded in every single postcode district across the UK.

Some more Lottery facts and figures to consider…

There have been some bizarre requests for Lottery funding. Here’s the top 10 most unusual, all of which were turned down for failing to show any benefit to the wider community:
  • A man requested funding so he could teach young people how to time travel
  • A woman asked for money to buy a new toaster
  • One enquirer asked for money for a reindeer to visit her local school. She wanted a grant quickly as “reindeer tend to be busy, especially at Christmas and therefore get booked up early”!
  • One woman requested funding to make automatic ice cube dispensers
  • A man wanted Lottery money to build a replica of Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise so that lonely people could meet in a "safe" environment
  • A man requested £500 to re-spray his Ford Capri
  • A woman wanted a grant to double glaze her house
  • One hopeful wanted funding to run a dinosaur farm
  • A woman wanted funding to give her garden a makeover. When advised that it had to be available to the wider community, she said that she would invite her friends round for a BBQ
  • An elderly woman rang the Lottery helpline to suggest that the Lottery should fund toilets for dogs
Lottery funding has changed the face of Wales. Here are just 10 of the best known, and loved, iconic buildings, structures and natural landmarks to have received Lottery funding to date:
Lottery winners have used some imaginative places to hide their winning tickets. Here’s the top 10 most unusual:
  • inside a bra
  • under a mattress
  • under fax machine at work
  • stapled to shirt pocket
  • in the dog’s basket
  • in the microwave
  • under a flowerpot
  • in a biscuit jar
  • in a shoe or sock
  • under a chessboard
Lottery funding is helping protect many of the UK’s endangered species from extinction, including:
  • basking shark
  • black grouse
  • cornfield flowers
  • great crested newts
  • great yellow bumble bee
  • horseshoe bat
  • red kite
  • red squirrel
  • water vole
Finally, 1994 was a landmark year in many ways. Here are five of the most memorable moments…aside from the first National Lottery draw:
  • Steven Spielberg's film, Schindler's List, won seven Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director
  • The Channel Tunnel officially opened
  • Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral was released to huge acclaim. Liz Hurley wore her infamous black Versace dress at the premiere
  • Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley


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