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10th September 2016

Len and Yvonne Arnold, gymnastics coaches who set up the Europa Centre in Bexley, will celebrate receiving a Special Achievement Award from the National Lottery on TV on Monday 12 September in front of a star-studded audience.

Len and Yvonne will be joined on the red carpet by celebrities such as John Barrowman, Kimberly Wyatt, Katie Derham and many of Team GB’s National Lottery funded Olympic heroes as they accepted their honour.

The Special Achievement Award is given to ordinary people who have done extraordinary things with Lottery funding. Millions of TV viewers will see the couple being recognised for the hours of their time they have devoted to encouraging young gymnasts at their centre.

Such is Len and Yvonne’s dedication, they even sold their house to support the club before they were awarded a National Lottery grant for a new facility ahead of the London Olympics. Their selflessness and that of other coaches has led to a massive surge in popularity for gymnastics in Britain and consequently Olympic medal success for Team GB.

A short film, where the couple are presented with their trophy by gold medal winning gymnast Max Whitlock, will be shown on the programme, The National Lottery Stars 2016, at 10:45pm on BBC One.

Len Arnold, Special Achievement winner and manager of Europa centre, said:

“We would like to express our gratitude to the National Lottery for this award, we are both very honoured. We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have generously given time over the years to the centre.”

Yvonne, Special Achievement winner and manager of Europa centre, said:

“It’s organisations like the National Lottery who have funded the Club and helped us to develop the Europa Centre into the facility it is today. Thank you so much for this award, we’ve had a really great time tonight."

John Barrowman, who will presenting the show for the seventh year, added:

“The National Lottery Awards celebrate the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects and recognise the legends behind these amazing organisations – ordinary people who do extraordinary things with National Lottery funding. Len and Yvonne are a shining example of such people.

“We have had a golden summer in 2016 with the success of Team GB. It is fitting that we carry on the celebrations by honouring people Like Len and Yvonne who are making a life-changing impact with National Lottery funding.

“National Lottery players can be very proud to have contributed towards their fine work.”

The National Lottery Awards is the annual search to find the UK’s favourite National 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; alongside the Special Achievement Award.

National Lottery players have been changing lives for 21 years - they currently raise over £36 million every week for projects across the UK. The National Lottery Awards recognise and celebrate the difference that Lottery-funded organisations, both large and small, make to local communities the length and breadth of the UK.


Notes to editors

Notes to Editors:

  • Europa Centre received £1.24 million of National Lottery funding through Sport England
  • Further information at

For more information and images, please contact:

Nicola Bligh, Media Relations Executive, 0207 211 3991