A lottery winner from Whittlesey hosted an Elf Festival at her daughter’s special school to help pupils and staff start Christmas week celebrations in seasonal style.
Lorraine Daniels, who won £729,026 with her father Derek in April, decided to host the festival to enable her daughter Lotus (7) and more than 40 fellow students at Meadowgate School in Wisbech celebrate Christmas in a familiar environment where they could feel safe and relaxed.
She said: “Since Lotus underwent surgery for her extreme epilepsy in 2014 she has baffled all the doctors and specialists who predicted a very limited quality of life. While she has come on in leaps and bounds since those dark days we have to be very careful how we manage situations such as Christmas because it means a host of new experiences which can be unsettling for Lotus.
“But, just like every family at this time of year, we want to be able to share in the fun and excitement and that’s where the Elf Festival comes in. It’s been brilliant seeing the students join in and get so much enjoyment out of the activities. It’s like an early Christmas present.”
Lottery winner Lorraine helped with the festivities and chatted happily with the guests about her Christmas plans in the new home she shares with Lotus and their two cats.
When Lorraine and her dad, Derek, shared the Lotto jackpot win she was in rented accommodation but has since been able to buy a new home which has been extended and renovated to meet all of Lotus’ needs now and in the future.
Lorraine said: “Our win couldn’t have come at a better time. At the time money was ever so tight. I couldn’t afford the specialist bed we needed for Lotus and had only been able to place the order because of the generosity of the community who raised enough money for us to order it.
“Before the bed had even arrived, dad and I won the lottery and we could pay back the community so the money went to another worthy cause.
“That all seems a lifetime ago. The win enabled me to find a home for Lotus and I to call our own and following many months of building work, it’s now ready for us to really enjoy it, just in time for Christmas!
“The building work created a vast open plan kitchen-diner so that Lotus has a large open space indoors to play. The result of this is she has so much more freedom than before.
“This Christmas we will be hosting the day with family in our new home and, with Lotus happy, safe and improving daily, will once again count our lucky stars that the Daniels’ were lottery winners.”
Lotus is “coming on leaps and bounds” added Lorraine. And as for her dad, his only expenditure has been on a new Ford Focus.