Slough National Lottery winners give ‘amazing’ gift to charity for veterans

A National Lottery millionaire couple from Slough were so impressed with the work of a veterans charity that they donated a riding lawn mower to the service. David and Donna Stickley, who won £21million in 2018, were inspired to give the gift after spending a day volunteering with other lottery winners at Veterans’ Growth near Hastings, East Sussex.

Mr Stickley, who introduced the mower to founder Jason Stevens, said: “Meeting Jason and some of the veterans last month gave us the opportunity to see first hand what an amazing team they are. Their commitment to creating a safe and welcoming space for veterans who may be struggling with a range of mental health issues is fantastic.

“In my opinion, Veterans’ Growth is one of many organizations across the country that are unsung heroes. What they have accomplished on site and the support they provide to our veterans is truly amazing and I hope the riding mower helps make things a little easier.

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Mr Stevens, who served for 16 years in the army, said: ‘The day after the National Lottery winning team was, I walked around the site and my head was spinning at everything had been accomplished. We now had wheelchair accessible trails; the cattle were safe on the right side of the fence and the cold new frame was chock full of plants.

“And then to get a call from David and Donna telling us they wanted to donate the riding mower, my head was spinning – and still spinning. Having the right kit really makes our job easier and a machine like this will do a huge difference in what we can achieve.

“We would have struggled to find the money to buy something like this, so being good at it is just amazing. However, it does pose a challenge: I see we’re going to have to create a rotation with our more regular service users. – I know one or two who like to spend every day driving a mini-tractor.”

Ms Stickley said winning the lotto has not changed the couple – as she continues to work part-time, although her husband was able to retire early and work on his model plane collection. She said: “Everyone thought I would quit working, but I’m happy to remain a useful member of the team.

“We know we are so lucky and we still can’t believe our luck. Sometimes I have to pinch myself.

“Since our victory, we have been able to enjoy the typical moments of lottery winners – moving to a dream house, improving our cars and enjoying a great vacation. But without a doubt, the best part of winning is being able to help where we can, whether it’s paying for an operation or a trip for a friend who needed a break or, as with veteran growth, the gift of the lawnmower porter.”

Veterans’ Growth has received £79,500 in National Lottery funding. Through therapy and support, it aims to reduce veterans’ levels of stress, anxiety, depression and isolation, while providing training in horticulture.

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