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18th Medi 2015

Leicester grandmother Edna Smith was stunned in the audience of the National Lottery Awards last weekend when she was surprised with the ‘Special Achievement’ honour for changing the lives of hundreds of families over the last 15 years.

The moment will be broadcast along with a film paying tribute to Edna on a BBC One show the National Lottery Stars on Monday 21 September at 10.35pm.

Eighty-year-old Edna is the longest serving mentor with charity Home-Start Blaby District, Oadby and Wigston, and is thought of as a surrogate mum by the many families she has helped.

She has spent thousands of hours volunteering in homes across Leicester and helping at two local Home-Start groups to support parents going through difficulties and their children.

Edna was visited by her hero Aled Jones in August and believed they were making a film to promote Home-Start and how National Lottery funding has benefited it. She was invited to The London Studios for the National Lottery Awards ceremony on Friday (11th) and host John Barrowman shocked her with the news she had won a Special Achievement Award.

The mum of four, grandmother to 10 and great-grandmother to two, said: “It was with mixed emotions that I accepted the award from the National Lottery - delighted, shocked, humble and very privileged.

“It was a big surprise, but a pleasant one, and for a short time I was speechless. John Barrowman announced at the start of the ceremony the winner of the Special Achievement Award was in the audience but didn’t know and I said to Aled sitting next to me that they won’t have time to prepare a speech, and then I found out it was me!

“I can't remember whether I thanked National Lottery players, so in case I didn't, I do so now. It was certainly a day to remember.”

Rob Parkinson, Chief Executive of Home-Start UK, said “Even among the incredible group of people that make up Home-Start’s volunteers Edna’s commitment to the families she has supported stands out as remarkable, and we are all delighted that she has been recognised for what she has achieved. Like all of our 15,000 home-visiting volunteers right across the UK, with her support and friendship for parents Edna continues to make an incredible difference to countless families.”

The National Lottery Awards are the annual celebration of the UK’s favourite Lottery funded projects. There are seven categories in the National Lottery Awards, reflecting the main areas of Lottery funding: arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary/charity.

Home-Start is one of the UK’s leading family support charities. Local Home-Starts have received have received £8.5 million of National Lottery funding since 2005 through 95 grants from the BIG Lottery Fund, one of the distributors of National Lottery funding. National Lottery players have raised £34 billion for community, arts, sport and heritage projects in the UK since the first National Lottery draw in 1994.


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For more information, please contact:

Natasha Brown on 020 7211 3927 or