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Closure of weekly lottery could cost cancer charity £1 million

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: January 17, 2014

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A CANCER charity which has supported countless families in the region could be forced to scrap its popular weekly lottery which it has ran for the past 17 years - costing it £1 million in funding this year alone.

St Giles Hospice could be forced to pull the plug on the lottery, which is played by people in Burton and South Derbyshire every week after it emerged the Government was planning to restrict the amount of money organisations spend on non-commercial lotteries.

It would come as a devastating blow to the charity, which cares for people suffering with cancer and other serious illnesses, with much of its funding coming from the sale of tickets, which can be brought from its stores across the Midlands as well as online.

Since 1997, players have entered the lottery eager to get their hands on the £2,000 jackpot.

But as well as the potential rewards, St Giles Hospice commercial manager Richard Simmonite said the lottery is a way for many people to make sure they give regularly to the charity.

He said: “The majority of our players buy a lottery ticket as a way of making a regular donation to St Giles, not as a form of gambling. A key reason that people play is to say thank you for the support they, their family or their friends have received from the hospice.”

The Department for Media, Culture and Sport is considering capping what is spent on lotteries at 15 per cent.

St Giles spends 50 per cent of lottery proceeds on its running and the prize fund, with the rest used for hospice care.

Mr Simmonite said: “That money funds one in five beds at the hospice and so to lose this income stream would result in us losing six in-patient beds – which would be disastrous for patients.

“A 15 per cent cap on expenses would mean the St Giles Hospice lottery simply couldn’t operate.”

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