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'A Ticket To Your Happy Place' Portrait Series

Discover our series of 'Happy Place' portraits taken by iconic photographer Tom Oldham to celebrate the return of The National Lottery Open Week, the annual event which offers discounts and free entry at venues across the UK, and Cinema Weekend which offers free cinema tickets at more than 500 cinema sites across the UK.

National Lottery Open Week is now over for 2021, but you can still discover the stories behind the thirteen incredible Happy Place portraits below, including Olympic Boxing Champion and Strictly Star, Nicola Adams and Liverpool Football Legend, John Barnes…

Pages 1-2: Olympic Boxing Champion Nicola Adams at Fight For Peace, London

Double Olympic Champion Nicola Adams OBE is captured at her Happy Place- Fight for Peace London Acadamy in Newham.

Nicola, who benefited from National Lottery funding during her boxing career, is a true champion in every sense of the word. In 2015, she became an ambassador of Fight for Peace, having previously visited both the Rio de Janeiro and London Academies. Since taking up the role, she has championed Fight for Peace’s work around the world, inspiring young women in particular to take up combat sports, attending training sessions and holding a number of events in the UK and Brazil together with young people.

Pages 2-3: Film Director Marley Morrison at the BFI Southbank, London

London resident and writer-director Marley Morrison's Happy Place is the BFI Southbank in London.

When asked why the BFI Southbank is her happy place, Marley reveals: “I’m at my happiest sitting in the back row at the BFI Southbank watching a great movie with my friends. Cinema in general has changed my life in many ways. It has helped me understand myself better and given me an insight into the lives of others. Cinema gives many marginalised people around the world an opportunity to see themselves reflected on screen. The National Lottery Cinema Weekend will be a welcome back to those who, like me, have missed it over the last year.”

Pages 4-5: Artist Adam at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter offers an array of displays that reveal Devon and Exeter’s rich history and global connections.

Exeter resident Adam explains why the The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is his happy place, “As an artist, it’s a place that I come to for inspiration for my own artistic practice. I always feel very grounded when I’m here at the RAMM - there’s something about this museum in particular that really gives me that creative energy. I enjoy coming either by myself, but ideally I make it an art date with a friend so that we can discuss all the exhibitions together.”

Pages 5-6: Glenis Williams at the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley, West Midlands

The Black Country Living Museum in the West Midlands offers visitors the chance to step back in time across the 26 acre site, plus the chance to meet friendly historic characters and join in with 300 years of history.

Community Engagement Manager, Glenis, reveals “My happy place is here at the Black Country Living Museum, in particular Emile Doo’s chemist which is a fascinating location. I feel very content and reflective when I’m here. For me, it’s a chance to escape and to meet with local people and community across the Black Country . The museum is such an immersive place with rich stories to tell, brought to life by the brilliant characters and events that take place. I think everyone who visits can feel connected to the museum in one way or another, which makes me happy."

Pages 7-8: Volunteer Tom Devlin at Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham

Created by Horace Walpole in the 18th century, Strawberry Hill is internationally famous as Britain’s finest example of domestic Georgian Gothic revival architecture.

Keen gardener, Tom, who is 52 years old and lives locally with his sister and her family, has been tending to the gardens of Strawberry Hill since 2016. Tom credits Strawberry Hill as his ‘happy place’, a place his friends also come to visit and where everybody is treated equally.

Pages 8-9: Wildlife Photographer Tal Chohan at RSPB Sandwell Valley Nature Reserve

RSPB Sandwell Valley is a fantastic place to get close to nature, and is home to a variety of wildlife.

When asked why RSPB Sandwell Valley is his happy place, Birmingham local Tal explains, “The last year has made me appreciate local wildlife more than ever. Now that restrictions have lifted, I’m keen to get my friends here to show them the natural world that I see through a lens. This is my happy place as I think that nature can be healing – especially if you’ve been sat at a screen all day.

“I grew up around here, so I know the reserve quite well, and I’ve even got to know some of the wildlife pretty well too, such as Cedric the Swan! I’ve missed people over lockdown, so it will be great to welcome them back again.”

Pages 10-12: Swimmers Daniel Jervis and Xavier Castelli at The Wales National Pool, Swansea

Welsh swimmers Daniel Jervis and Xavier Castelli describe why the Wales National Pool is their happy place.

Daniel, who recently confirmed his Team GB place for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, reveals: “I have so many memories of my time here at The Wales National Pool - this is where I won my first gold medal. What I love most about being the pool is how calm it makes me feel. I’ve trained every day since I was a child, so I’ve really missed this place while it’s been closed. I’m really glad to be back under water and back with my friends.”

Fellow high performance swimmer, Xavier, added: “The National Pool here in Swansea is a place we can be our selves. Being in the water makes me feel relaxed and where I feel most comfortable, so I’m really looking forward to competing again with a proper crowd and being in a club environment with my teammates.”

Pages 13-14: Big Lunch Participant and St Petrocs Ambassador Serena at The Eden Project, Cornwall

Big Lunch attendee and, homeless charity, St Petrocs ambassador Serena is captured in her Happy Place at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Last year as the pandemic unfolded, support workers at St Petrocs homeless charity soon realised that harder times lay ahead. For people faced with insecure housing or homelessness, the pandemic brought increased uncertainty making life even more of a struggle. Serena explained, "Building and strengthening community bonds for people in precarious circumstances is vital. The pandemic stopped all that, so St Petrocs felt it was more important than ever to find new ways to help residents come together in some way.”

“Every year in June, The Big Lunch invites millions of people right across the UK to have fun and make positive local connections where they live, so we thought residents and staff might benefit from taking part in that. Eden’s Big lunch is about connecting people and making new friends, and that support…well that’s just the sort of thing we might need when we face difficulties."

“Twelve or more of our houses and at least eighty residents got involved sharing friendship, food and having fun with their neighbours – even cooking the same recipes. And it brought us closer together. We obeyed all the rules on Covid 19 social restrictions but across all the houses we shared something. It really did give us a big lift at a really difficult time. I want to show people that housing issues are something which can be beaten when we all work together as a community”.

“When the people who run The Big Lunch heard about me wanting to share my role in speaking about The Big Lunch, and about taking part in it and my love of the Eden Project, they said they wanted to give me the opportunity to take part in Tom’s photo series, for The National Lottery Open Week. It’s exciting and I can’t wait to see the photo.”

Pages 14-15: Retired Wing Commander Bob Wright at the National Museum of Flight, Scotland

The National Museum of Flight is home to one of Europe's best collections of aircraft, including Scotland's Concorde. Visitors can learn about the history of aviation from the First World War to the present day and immerse supersonic experiences and historic hangars and airfield.

Bob describes why the National Museum of Flight is his Happy Place, "Being back here at the National Museum of Flight makes me feel brilliant. For me, it’s escapism from daily life. Having been in the RAF for many years, it’s always a great satisfaction to be able to come and share my personal experiences with some of the other visitors.”

He adds “I also enjoy bringing my grandchildren to the museum so they can learn more about aircrafts and the aviation heritage. I’m really glad to be back, chatting to new people and the lovely staff here at the museum.”

Pages 16-17: Architect Akiko Kobayashi at The Collective Gallery, Edinburgh

Collective is a fascinating site with a rich history of astronomy, time-keeping and, more recently, art. The gallery offers insight into some of the remarkable stories, discoveries, and personalities which have shaped Calton Hill and made their influence felt across the globe over the past 200 years.

Akiko explains why contemporary art gallery, Collective, is her happy place, "The place makes me feel awe-inspired and makes me feel rooted both in the city and in the wider landscape at the same time. You can see the weather coming across from surrounding areas, and the saturated colours on Arthur's Seat are quite surreal when the sun shines! I'm looking forward to seeing Collective open its doors again, and I’m pleased it’s part of The National Lottery Open Week”.

Pages 18-19: Football legend John Barnes at Wembley Stadium, London

Former Liverpool and England footballer is captured at his Happy Place- Wembley Stadium.

The 57-year-old sports commentator explains why Wembley Stadium is his happy place: “I’ve had many happy memories here at Wembley. One of my first memories was when I was a young boy growing up in Jamaica and watching the 1974 FA Cup Final where Liverpool beat Newcastle. I thought ‘what a fantastic place to be’, because back in Jamaica, we didn’t get to see football, so the FA Cup Final Day was the most special moment for me.

“When I first came to Wembley, I remember feeling very tired! I was a young boy living in Golders Green and I came to watch England v Argentina. I came with my dad, a fitness fanatic, who decided we were going to walk home from Wembley back home in Golders Green, which is about five miles.

“My first FA Cup Final experience was when I was playing for Watford and the whole team were in the coach driving down Wembley Way, excited to have made it to the finals, and it was just so special. Although we lost, it was a fantastic feeling to be at Wembley.

“Nowadays, I like coming to Wembley by myself as I like to be in my own zone and savour the atmosphere – even though there’s 99,000 other people around me! I think what’s amazing about Wembley is that it gives everybody, not just the elite football teams, the feeling of achievement and happiness when they come together.”

Pages 19-20: Kate Jones at St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff

Kate credits St Fagans National Museum of History with making her the history-obsessed person she is today. In fact, she now runs a Cardiff-based history Instagram account, which largely consists of photographs she has taken while at St Fagans and other Welsh historical sites.

“Everything about St Fagans is quintessentially Welsh to me. It's a place that makes you feel at home despite being largely outdoors. The smell is probably my favourite part; the baking bread and warm Welsh cakes mixed in with a smoky fire lit in almost every house. I don't think there is anywhere on Earth that smells as amazing as the museum.”

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