Lottery winners knit fairy decorations to spread Christmas cheer

Ellie Pereira,4, finding Christmas fairies in Calton Marshes nature reserve, Lowestoft

Ellie Pereira, 4, finding Christmas fairies in Calton Marshes nature reserve, Lowestoft - Credit: Rod Kirkpatrick/National Lottery/PA Wire

A group of lottery winners spent the second national lockdown making knitted fairies to spread Christmas cheer around the Carlton Marshes nature reserve.

The idea was suggested on a Facebook group for lottery winners and inspired members to pick up their knitting needles during November.

More than 150 of their creations now decorate Carlton Marshes nature reserve near Lowestoft, where eagle-eyed visitors are free to pick up a Christmas decoration and take it home to adorn their tree.

Richard and Cathy Brown

Ipswich couple Richard and Cathy Brown placing Christmas fairies in Calton Marshes nature reserve, Lowestoft, Suffolk - Credit: Rod Kirkpatrick/National Lottery/PA Wire

Passionate nature lovers Richard and Cathy Brown, from Ipswich, who scooped £6.1million on Lotto in 2013, were among those who helped to knit the fairies.

Mrs Brown said: “This year has shown just how essential it is to have natural spaces for all communities to enjoy and coming here today to watch everyone, young and old, enjoying the marshes is wonderful.


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“And to see the look of delight on all the visitors’ faces as they discover their little Christmas surprise is equally magical. From the Wild Tots group in their wellies to the walkers and bird watchers, everyone with a little homemade decoration in hand is beaming.”

National Lottery winners, Richard and Cathy Brown placing Christmas fairies in Calton Marshes nature reserve, Lowestoft

National Lottery winners, Richard and Cathy Brown placing Christmas fairies in Calton Marshes nature reserve, Lowestoft - Credit: Rod Kirkpatrick/National Lottery/PA Wire

The winners, who would normally team up in person at Christmas to help support various charities, adapted to the current lockdown by creating a Facebook group to share ideas, and members got together for ‘Knit and Natter’ Zoom sessions to celebrate the highs, and occasional lows, of their knitting adventures.

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Also among the knitting brigade was Jean Swatman from Lowestoft, who won £2m on Lotto in 2013.

She said: “We all need a bit of magic this year and we hope that those who find our little Christmas fairies will feel that moment of magic.

“I knitted for my children when they were small but put my needles away years ago! I may have been a little rusty but it’s been so lovely to get back into it with my fellow winners and know that during lockdown I’ve done something for my local community that will hopefully bring a smile this Christmas.”

Ellie Pereira,4, finding Christmas fairies in Calton Marshes nature reserve, Lowestoft

Ellie Pereira, 4, finding Christmas fairies in Calton Marshes nature reserve, Lowestoft. - Credit: Rod Kirkpatrick/National Lottery/PA Wire

National Lottery-funded Carlton Marshes is looked after by Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Sara Holman, Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s head of learning, said: “These beautiful and unique little decorations from the nation’s lottery winners will be dotted about the marshes in the coming weeks so that our many winter visitors can discover a little piece joy amongst the flora and fauna.

“A little fairy magic is a fitting end to celebrate the year. The team has been determined to keep the gates at Carlton Marshes open throughout 2020 so people can escape the pressures of urban life and safely recharge their batteries.

“Their determination has paid off, the marshes has become an essential destination for young families, older people and those wishing to get outside while still keeping their distance.”

Other National Lottery winners from across the eastern region who picked up their needles to help out were Sarah Cribb from Ipswich, plus a host of winners from Essex including Susan Richards from Billericay who scooped £3m.

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