25th October, 2018
Susanna Thomas, organiser of Goldies Cymru in Cardiff, honoured by
The National Lottery on primetime ITV
The National Lottery’s ‘Big Surprise’ will honour its first Welsh recipient this Saturday (27 September) – with Goldies Cymru’s much-loved organiser, Susanna Thomas, receiving a surprise visit from Robin Windsor of Strictly Come Dancing fame.
In a 90-second slot during an ad break on Saturday night primetime ITV, the National Lottery ‘Big Surprise’ honours individuals who have made a real difference with the help of National Lottery funding.
This week, Susanna’s story will receive national recognition with around five million people expected to tune in across the ITV network.
Goldies Cymru is part of the Golden Oldies charity which reaches out to brighten the lives of hundreds of older, isolated people across England and Wales. When Susanna, who is senior branch librarian at Rhydypennau Library in Cardiff, first heard about Goldies Cymru three years ago, she decided she wanted to set-up her own group using music to bring people together within her library’s local community.
For Susanna’s ‘Big Surprise’, The National Lottery worked with Susanna’s Goldies Cymru group to film the transformation of Rhydypennau Library into a glittering ballroom and had Strictly Come Dancing’s Robin on hand to spin Susanna around the dancefloor, in front of her cheering Goldies.
Susanna said: “It was all quite overwhelming, but by far the best bit of the surprise was seeing the Goldies all dressed up. People you see every week going to such an effort made me quite emotional.
“This was a wonderful surprise from The National Lottery and I can’t believe that so many people managed to keep such an exciting secret under wraps.”
Robin Windsor commented: “Dancing for me means joy and happiness so for Susanna to bring this into so many lives is a wonderful gift. It was fabulous to be able to surprise Susanna and thank her for all that she does for the elderly and vulnerable in her Cardiff community. I hope that Susanna and all her Goldies enjoyed the surprise as much as I did.”
Across Wales and the South West of England, Golden Oldies groups usually have to hire out the space they use for sessions, as well as paying people to lead them. However, Susanna was sure that a Goldies Cymru group would be a hit in Rhydypennau and convinced her bosses that hosting a Goldies group in the library would benefit the whole community.
Susanna said: “When I first contacted Golden Oldies, I never expected that a group would give me so much happiness, but it has been fantastic. Originally, we only had a few people joining our sessions, but thanks to word of mouth, we’re now up to 40 regular attendees and are still growing. There are so many new friendships made, it's been wonderful to be a part of it.”
Founder of Golden Oldies, Grenville Jones, said: “People often arrive at Goldies feeling a bit down, but after an hour with Susanna, they leave feeling revitalised. As soon as The National Lottery got in touch about the opportunity, we knew that there was one person who deserved such a special surprise. This group wouldn’t exist without her and it was great to be able to give her something back.”
Susanna’s ‘Big Surprise’ will air across the ITV network this Saturday (27 October) during the ad break in The X Factor. It is among 17 short films being shown throughout the year, during ITV’s primetime Saturday night TV schedule, to celebrate and showcase National Lottery funded heroes across the UK. The all-important Saturday night Lotto results will also continue to be delivered during the weekly slot.
Since 2011, Golden Oldies has received just over £600,000 of National Lottery funding which has gone towards running sing-along sessions for isolated, elderly people, as well as those with learning difficulties and dementia. In Cardiff, where Susanna hosts her weekly sessions, over £400 million of National Lottery funding has supported around 6,100 projects while in Wales over 50,000 projects have benefitted from funding, which has amounted to a total of over £1.7 billion.
Players raise, on average, over £30m for National Lottery-funded projects every week across the arts, sports, heritage, health, education, environment, charity and voluntary sectors.
‘The Big Surprise’ is the continuation of the return of The National Lottery results to primetime TV through a commercial partnership with ITV (from 14 April 2018), and follows the success of ‘Race to the Numbers’ where members of the public were given the chance to win £10,000 at National Lottery funded venues across the UK.
For more information on National Lottery funding please visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk
For more information on Goldies Cymru please visit: www.goldiescymru.org.uk
For further information, including to arrange interviews with Susanna Thomas, please contact Effective Communication, Camelot’s regional PR agency: Katherine Kennedy on: 02920 838314, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the Camelot Press Office: 0207 632 5711
Notes to Editors:
● Camelot UK Lotteries Limited is the licensed operator of The National Lottery® and is committed to raising money for National Lottery Good Causes designated by Parliament. Camelot is not responsible for distributing or awarding these funds.
● On average, Camelot generates around £30 million each week for National Lottery-funded projects. In total, £38 billion has now been raised and more than 535,000 individual grants have been made across the UK - the equivalent of around 190 lottery grants in every UK postcode district. The National Lottery has so far given away over £67 billion in prizes and created more than 5,000 millionaires or multi-millionaires since its launch in 1994.
● For further information on Camelot, The National Lottery and its games, please visit: www.camelotgroup.co.uk and www.national-lottery.co.uk
● Players of all National Lottery games must be aged 16 or over.