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10th January 2014

Saturday 11 January, 2014: A cheeky animated online gif image of Queen Elizabeth I has been released today as part of The National Lottery’s Just Imagine campaign. The graphic celebrates today’s anniversary of the first ever lottery in England, which took place in 1569.

Just Imagine is The National Lottery’s new nationwide campaign, launched January 1, to raise awareness of the massive impact that £31 billion in project funding has had across the UK since the first National Lottery draw 20 years ago this year.

The first recorded lottery in England was performed on this day, 11 January, in 1569 and continued until 6 May of the same year.

The lottery was run from the west door of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and offered 40,000 shares, each costing ten shillings which was far too expensive for the ordinary citizen. The first prize was a massive £5000, paid partly in ready money and the remainder in plate, tapestries and linen cloth.

Records held by the British Library show an advertisement for the lottery, issued by Queen Elizabeth I two years earlier in 1567, that outlined how ticket holders would also benefit from immunity of prosecution for crimes other than murder, felony, piracy or treason. Funds raised from the lottery went towards the repair of harbours of other public works.

Thankfully, times have changed, and the National Lottery now raises £33 million for good causes each week.

To enable people to learn more about National Lottery funded projects in their area, the National Lottery has launched a ‘Good Cause Finder’. To see projects in your area, or to find out more about Just Imagine January, visit


Notes to editors

Notes to Editors

For press enquiries relating to the Just Imagine campaign:
Alex Bake 07552 289 290
Jim Williams 07814 068 349

For press enquiries relating to the National Lottery:
Michael Thompson, Head of Media at the National Lottery Promotions Unit, on 07734 295745.

Twitter: @lottogoodcauses #JustImagine
About the National Lottery Promotions Unit
The National Lottery Promotions Unit (NLPU) is responsible for raising awareness of Lottery funding to Good Causes. Amongst other initiatives, NLPU manages the National Lottery Awards.
National Lottery funding is awarded through 12 distributing bodies: Big Lottery Fund, UK Sport, Sport England, Sport Wales, Sport NI, Sport Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Arts Council Wales, Arts Council NI, Creative Scotland and the British Film Institute.
Over £31 billion has been awarded to good cause projects across the UK since the launch of the National Lottery back in 1994. Currently, £33 million of good cause funding is raised every week by National Lottery players.