A TEAM of National Lottery winners took the lead at Canine Partners HQ this week.
Winners from across the south spent the day volunteering at the charity’s national training centre in Heyshott.
The crew of 19 donned their painting overalls and picked up their paintbrushes to give the centre’s reception, training hall and outdoor fencing a new lease of life.
The training facility is set within acres of land and enables Canine Partners to train on average 80 dogs each year.
The charity has received £370,000 in funding from the National Lottery which it has used to build specialist chalets for applicants to stay in when they go to meet and train with their special dog.
With a combined worth of more than £49.8m, the winners involved in the volunteer project included George Sturt from Surrey (£26.1m), Diane Robson from Eastbourne (£2.4m), Michael Antonucci from Plymouth (£2.8m), Trina and Mark Myatt from Hertfordshire (£1m), Ted and Marilyn Newton from Kent (£7.9m), Dione and Richard Buss from Bridgewater (£1.8m), Paul and Denise Hardware from Somerset (£4.9m), Aaron Smith from Dorset (£1m) and Ed and Michelle Edwards from Sherborne (£1.9m).
Michelle Edwards has a special connection with Canine Partners, having become a puppy parent for the charity. She is now training her third dog.
“I call Holly, one of the puppies I parented, my little girl as she transformed me and the way I think about life,” said Michelle.
“When I first won the lottery it was like my wildest dreams had come true and we bought a house, new cars, boats, designer clothes and holidayed around the world.
“But after a few years I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life so I became a puppy parent. I took on Holly, a gorgeous black labrador cross, and helped train her for 14 months, setting her on the path to changing someone’s life as an assistance dog, which I am delighted she has done.”
Andy Cook, CEO of Canine Partners, added: “We were very grateful that so many winners were prepared to give up their time, roll up their sleeves and help us transform the training centre.”