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24th January 2017

A former miner was given the surprise of his life when a National Lottery player went undercover and revealed that a bid for funding had been successful.

John Wiltshire was presented with a cheque for £40,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help preserve the legacy of the last deep coal mine in North Wales.

This was part of The National Lottery’s ‘Thank You Wales’ campaign, allowing players to find out more about the projects that benefit when they buy a lottery ticket.

Vicky Peterson, 46 from Cardiff, posed as a volunteer to find out more about the project.

The Point of Ayr Then and Now project is led by Flintshire County Council’s Countryside Service and will bring the heritage of the colliery to life through a Miners Trail and circular walk using the Wales Coast Path between Ffynnongroyw and Talacre.

John, who is Chairman of Point of Ayr Community Heritage (POACH), said: “This money from the National Lottery means the world to me and the other miners. Since Point of Ayr was closed and flattened in 1996 there is now virtually no evidence that it ever existed.

“We are all really excited to bring the mine back to life, and to educate both local people and visitors about the mine’s importance, not just locally, but also to the heritage of Wales as a whole.

“When Vicky revealed that she wasn’t with us to volunteer, and presented me with the cheque I was completely overwhelmed. We’ve all dreamt of receiving this National Lottery funding since we submitted the application, and it will go a long way to realising our vision.”

Vicky Peterson, who works as a project manager for Lloyds Bank and has been playing the National Lottery since it started said: “It’s not every day you get to hand over a cheque to an organisation knowing that the money is going to help make a difference to a whole community.

“John is so passionate about the project and that really came through when he was talking about it. The money will provide an important education resource for schools, visitors and local people, explaining the heritage of the area. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and it was a fantastic experience to be part of.

“When you buy a National Lottery ticket you usually think about the money up for grabs, but I’d never really thought too much about the fact that some of my ticket money goes to such deserving local community initiatives like Point of Ayr Then and Now.”

Jackie O’Sullivan, Director of National Lottery Good Causes, said: “National Lottery players have raised a massive £1.6 billion to fund projects right across Wales. The ‘Thank you Wales’ campaign is thanking lottery players, without whom none of this would be possible. We want to make National Lottery players aware of the thousands of fantastic projects across Wales which are successful, thanks to their funding.”

Vicky also met Mike Taylor, from Flintshire County Council’s Countryside Service. The project is a collaboration between Flintshire County Council’s Countryside Service, POACH, Shropshire Miners Trust and North Wales Miners Association Trust, with support from ENI, Dangerpoint, RSPB, and with match funding from the Coastal Communities Fund.

Flintshire County Council Cabinet Member for Planning and the Environment, Councillor Bernie Attridge, said: “Flintshire is delighted to have been involved in such a worthy project and the results have been really well received. The grant from the National Lottery has gone a long way to restoring this landmark for generations to come.”

Watch the video of Vicky surprising John here –


Notes to editors

Notes to editors:
About National Lottery Good Causes
• Since The National Lottery began in 1994, players have raised over £1.6 billion for over 46,000 projects in Wales, impacting on all aspects of Welsh life
• National Lottery players raise around £30 million a week for projects across the UK
• The money is awarded by organisations with specialist knowledge of their sectors
• The UK’s National Lottery gives one of the highest percentages of lottery revenue back to society in the world
• Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the £40,500 Point of Ayr Then and Now grant, while Big Lottery Fund, Arts Council of Wales and Sport Wales also distribute National Lottery funding in Wales, The British Film Institute (BFI) supports film in Wales, and UK Sport supports Welsh elite athletes
• To find out more, go to
About Heritage Lottery Fund:
• Heritage Lottery Fund is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK
• Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded over £7.1 billion to over 40,000 projects since 1994
• Thanks to National Lottery players, Heritage Lottery Fund invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about
• These range from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife
• To find out more, go to @HLFCymru
About Point of Ayr:
• The Point of Ayr Then and Now project will include an audio tour with the voices of real miners, a pit pony sculpture, interpretation panels, and a miners’ memories booklet
• The old colliery wheel will be restored and brought back to the site to take centre stage alongside the Coast Path
• Schools will learn about the colliery and the estuary’s ecology with help from RSPB and Flintshire Countryside Service’s rangers
• They will work with local schools and artists to produce the art work for the panels
• Former miners will be interviewed for their stories to be preserved, while the colliery brass band and choir will be recorded for the audio tour
• Point of Ayr Colliery, near Prestatyn closed in 1996 after more than 100 years of mining, and was the last operational deep pit in North Wales
• The coal seams were worked under the Dee estuary and despite extensive reserves, the pit closed as a result of the reduced demand for coal due to the use of gas in electricity generation.
• To find out more about Point of Ayr Community Heritage, go to