Lottery winners donate ride-on mower to ‘incredible’ veterans’ charity
Jason Stevens, right, Veterans Growth CEO, is presented with a ride-on mower from lottery winners David and Donna Stickley(Luke MacGregor/Camelot/PA)

A National Lottery millionaire couple were so impressed by the work of a veterans charity that they donated a ride-on lawnmower to the service.

David and Donna Stickley, who won £21 million in 2018, were inspired to give the gift after they spent a day volunteering with other lottery winners at Veterans’ Growth in near Hastings, East Sussex.

Mr Stickley, from Slough, Berkshire, who presented the mower to founder Jason Stevens, said: “Meeting Jason and some of the veterans last month gave us the chance to see first-hand what an amazing team they are.

Donna and David Stickley volunteer at Veterans’ Growth near Hastings in Sussex. (Luke MacGregor/Camelot/PA)

“Their commitment to creating a safe and welcoming space for veterans who may be experiencing a range of mental health challenges is fantastic.

“In my opinion, Veterans’ Growth is one of many organisations across the country who are unsung heroes.

“What they have achieved at the site, and the support they give our veterans, is really quite incredible and hopefully the ride-on mower will help to make things just a touch easier.”

Mr Stevens, who served for 16 years in the Army, said: “The day after The National Lottery winner workforce had been, I took a walk around the site and my head was spinning at how much had been achieved.

“We now had wheelchair-accessible paths; the cattle were safely on the right side of the fence and the new cold frame was chock-full of plants.

“And then to get a call from David and Donna telling us that they wanted to donate the ride-on mower, my head was – and still is – spinning.

“Having the right kit really does make our work easier and a piece of machinery like this will make a dramatic difference to what we can achieve.

“We would have struggled to find the money to buy something like this, so to be gifted it is just incredible.

“However it does pose one challenge: I can see we’re going to have to create a rota with our more regular service users – I know one or two who quite fancy spending every day driving a mini tractor.”

Mrs Stickley said the Lotto win has not changed the couple – as she continues working part-time, though her husband has been able to take early retirement and work on his model aircraft collection.

She said: “Everyone thought I’d stop working but I’m happy to remain a useful member of the team.

“We know we are so fortunate and still can’t believe our luck; I have to pinch myself sometimes.

“Since our win we have been able to enjoy the typical lottery winner moments – moving to a dream home, upgrading our cars and enjoying some lovely holidays.

“But without doubt the best part of the win is being able to help where we can, whether that’s paying for an operation or a trip away for a friend who needed a break or, as with Veterans’ Growth, the donation of the ride-on lawnmower.”

Through horticultural therapy and support, Veterans’ Growth, which has received £79,500 of National Lottery funding, aims to reduce veterans’ stress levels, anxiety, depression and isolation, while also providing training in horticulture.

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