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Friday, 14 December 2018

Lottery millionaires throw Christmas party for 'valued and amazing' young carers

Written by Sam Russell

A group of National Lottery millionaires turned into party planners to throw a Christmas-themed celebration for young carers.

The 24 lottery winners, with a combined wealth of more than £48 million, hosted around 75 carers aged between eight and 16 at the glitzy event near Chelmsford, Essex on Thursday.

The invited carers, supported by the Action for Family Carers charity, ordinarily juggle school life with caring for a family member.

They were made to feel like superstars for the evening at The Baronial Hall in the village of Stock, a wedding venue which had been turned into a winter wonderland.

Lottery winners took on a variety of roles including chauffeur drivers, face painters and non-alcoholic mocktail bartenders to host the event.

They included Essex couple Dean and Louise Allen, who won £13.8 million on a National Lottery rollover in 2000, and Richard and Cathy Brown of Ipswich - who won a £6 million jackpot in 2013.

Sue Richards, who won £3 million on a National Lottery Scratchcard in 2016, has worked as an adult carer.

The 51-year-old, of Billericay, said she hoped the party showed the young carers "how much they are valued, what an amazing job they are doing and also gives them a chance to really have fun".

"These young people are massively affected by caring for someone close to them who has a long-term illness, a physical or sensory impairment, learning difficulties, mental illness or is affected by alcohol or substance misuse," she said.

"I've been a carer for many years, so I can appreciate what they may go through on a daily basis, but I'm an adult.

"To think these children have such a responsibility at such a young age is really very humbling."

The party had makeover sessions, a festive photobooth, reindeer rodeo and disco to make the children feel like VIPs.

Marley Chick, 14, of Epping in Essex, was among those at the party.

He is a carer for his mother, who has multiple health issues.

He said: "I'm trying to speak for young carers - we're so grateful for it [this party] because we're being given one night which is pretty much like a party where we can just go mad, crazy and enjoy ourselves."

Heather Beach, of Action for Family Carers, said: "While we can provide the day-to-day support, events such as this are out of the question so for these lottery winners to give up their time, and so close to Christmas, is simply magical."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Joe Giddens / PA Wire.