Penrith’s lottery Santa rewards community helper

A community volunteer from Penrith is celebrating a £500 windfall from the town’s lottery, which was an unexpected side effect of his work to create a new games facility for local children.

William Hardisty from the Scaws area won the Pride in Penrith Lottery’s Christmas special draw on 16 December. He’d been a member for a year, inspired to join after the lottery awarded a grant towards a multi-use games zone in his neighbourhood.

Now in his third year as treasurer of the Scaws Residents & Tenants Association, William has been part of the team tackling all the fundraising and administration needed to make the play area a reality.

“We’ve done a lot of fundraising in that time,” William said. “We’ve had a summer draw, spot the ball competition, guess the name of the teddy bear – all sorts of things to try to raise the money.”

The grant of £5,000 from the Pride in Penrith Lottery early in 2015 gave the association the final boost they needed. With support from Eden District Council, they’ve been through the tendering process to appoint a contractor and work will begin on the site early in the new year.

“When it opens in late March, it will give children a safe place to play a range of sports, from football to basketball, and it will be fully wheelchair accessible,” William said.

The grant was the largest the Pride in Penrith Lottery has awarded in the past two years.

“I think that shows just how strongly the lottery board felt about supporting this project,” said Rob Udale, lottery chair. “William and the association have worked hard to give local children a place to play sports, with all the benefits that brings for them, and we were glad to have been able to help them across the finishing line and leave such a valuable legacy for Penrith. We’re really looking forward to seeing it installed and in use by the town’s young people – just in time for the better spring weather.”

For William, seeing Penrith’s children enjoying the games area was the only reward he hoped for so the fact that it led indirectly to winning the lottery’s Christmas draw has been an unexpected bonus.

“I got quite a surprise when I the phone call came!” said William, who’s still deciding how he’ll spend his early Christmas present.

Rob had the pleasure of presenting William with his £500 cheque on 18 December, Christmas Jumper Day, at Penrith’s festive market in St Andrew’s Churchyard.

“It was great to have the role of Santa, being able to give William a little personal reward for all his efforts for the community,” Rob said. “He was certainly a very deserving winner – as are all our members, whose weekly subscriptions make it possible for us to support good causes like this. We look forward to giving out more prizes and grants in 2016.”

Anyone who’d like to join the lottery and support the community can join online at or by calling 07737 049516.