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The National Lottery's portrayal of local war veteran to rouse nation

21st June 2012

93 year-old Jack Jennings from Torquay fought in the jungle in Asia and worked on the Burma Railway as a prisoner of war before making a poignant return later in life, thanks to National Lottery funding.

Jack's emotional story was the starting point for Hollywood Director, John Hillcoat, to create the advertisement for the small screen.

It is part of 'The National Lottery - Life Changing' campaign, screened nationwide during March, which aims to raise even greater public awareness of how communities are benefiting from National Lottery funding.

National press ads will promote the wide range and scale of National Lottery funding. A new on-line directory will also encourage people to see for themselves how National Lottery funding has transformed their own community.

Over £27 billion has gone to 370,000 voluntary and community groups, arts, education, sport, heritage, environment and health projects across the UK since The National Lottery started in 1994. These include Torquay's Disabled Sailing Association, The Babbacombe Cliff Railway and the Devon Art Society in Torbay.

Jack Jennings is one of 51,000 people who have made commemorative trips through the BIG Lottery Fund's Heroes Return schemes funded by the National Lottery.

Jack Jennings said: "The advert is very good, showing what the jungle was like and how I felt visiting the graves of friends many years later. The conditions for prisoners of war were grim in the heat, working so hard with little food. 15 soldiers died a day from malaria or cholera. We used to sit in the camp counting the days that we had to live. When I went back to Asia I was surprised and relieved; all my old dreams faded away, it's now a pleasant place. I am very grateful that National Lottery players paid for me to return."

Peter Wanless, Chairman of The National Lottery Forum, says the new campaign will help people to better understand the difference that National Lottery funding is making:

"This moving television advertisement reminds us of the sacrifices that Jack Jennings and his comrades made for this nation. It also brings home the importance of National Lottery funding to real lives. National Lottery players should feel proud that they have helped Jack Jennings and hundreds of people in their own community. National Lottery funding is changing lives right across Britain."