There’s a ‘Big Surprise’ for St Helens volunteer Chris on Primetime TV this weekend
We just love stories like this, when lovely things happen to lovely people!
Chris Anders, Wish Co-ordinator at The HoneyRose Foundation, honoured by The National Lottery on ITV primetime TV. The National Lottery’s ‘Big Surprise’ – which honours the individuals who have made a real difference with the help of National Lottery funding, will this weekend make a dream come true for a special lady from St Helens, Chris Anders.
The ‘Big Surprise’ is a 90-second weekly slot during the ad break of Saturday night primetime ITV shows – meaning local hero Chris, 60, is set to get national recognition with around 5 million people expected to tune in across the ITV network.
The HoneyRose Foundation, where Chris is a Wish Co-ordinator, was launched 14 years ago and makes dreams come true by granting wishes for people across the country with terminal and life-limiting conditions. The wishes granted can range from helicopter and hot balloon rides, to tickets for major sporting events, spa days and weekend breaks in the countryside.
Based in St Helens, the charity is focussed on granting wishes to those over the age of 40. It raises funds by hosting events in St Helens throughout the year and also via a charity shop in St Helens town centre, in addition to public supporting grants.
Chris has worked as a volunteer at the foundation, which has made wishes come true for more than 9,000 people, for the last 12 years. She says she would never want to do anything else as she loves nothing more than to help people and to make them happy.
For Chris’s ‘Big Surprise’, The National Lottery arranged for her back yard to be transformed into a colourful garden oasis. Chris loves her back yard but has been unable to make proper use of it because it was over-grown, with no room to sit – The National Lottery filmed the transformation and captured Chris’s heart-warming reaction.
Chris said, “I’m absolutely blown away by how beautiful it looks, it was such a shock and I wasn’t expecting it at all. For years, I’ve been trying to keep the area tidy by myself but recently it has been such a struggle and it was getting too much for me, I just couldn’t do it on my own anymore.
“I love relaxing in my garden, I love colour and I love flowers – this is definitely a dream come true for myself!”
She continued, “I can’t thank The National Lottery enough for what they’ve done for me, just being able to sit out there will be amazing and my grandchildren are going to be so thrilled when they see it.
“I’ve got a daughter and two sons and I can’t wait to get them all here. My youngest son is a sergeant in the army and he’s been working in Cyprus for the last three years but he’s due back at the end of this month, so when he finds out that I’ve had the garden done, he won’t be able to wait to get up here and see it for himself.
“I love everything about my new garden but my favourite part has to be the roses, I’ve always had a passion for them as they were my mother’s favourite flower and she’s probably looking down on me now saying, ‘You’ve got roses!’”
Chris’s ‘Big Surprise’ will air across the ITV network during the ad break in the X Factor (8 September) and is one of 17 short films which will be shown throughout the year, during ITV’s primetime Saturday night TV schedule, that will 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.
The HoneyRose Foundation has received over £32,000 in National Lottery funding, whilst in the Parliamentary constituency of St Helens, where The HoneyRose Foundation is located, over 900 projects have been funded by The National Lottery. Players raise, on average, around £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.