14 September 2023

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Surprise lottery win makes Kay sew happy

A win on the St Christopher's lottery has enabled a retired teacher to invest in a new pastime that’s helping sick children.

A totally unexpected win on the St Christopher’s Lottery has enabled a retired teacher to invest in a new pastime that’s helping sick children, visit a lifelong desired destination, and give a boost to her son’s new business.

Kay St Christopher's 2023 lottery winner

Kay Croft was driving to a Christmas fair last December when the life-changing moment happened.

“When Liz from fundraising phoned me and said I’d won £5000 I was so surprised and shocked. It was just before Christmas, and I didn’t even know I did the lottery.”

Kay had signed up to the lottery by direct debit a couple of years when a fundraiser called at her home in Dulwich. So overwhelmed was she by the win, she decided not to touch the money for a few months while she properly considered what to do with it.

A lifelong love of crafts, learned from her father, led Kay to think about how she could put her skills to good use. “He taught me to knit when I was about 10 and I’ve kept doing it all my life. I now make blankets for my friend’s grandchildren too.”

She started thinking about quilting but wasn’t sure where or how to start.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but didn’t really know how. I was talking to my physio about it and she suggested Bell House in Dulwich Village. I’ve been going since March and they really set me off.”

Through the Bell House Quilting Academy Kay now makes quilts for babies in the incubators in Kings College Hospital, as well as for children of all ages at the hospital and for young adults leaving care.

By June, Kay decided she needed a better sewing machine. After extensive research she picked out a quality new one.

“It’s absolutely amazing, the same as the ones they use on the Sewing Bee programme on the telly. It makes it so much easier and faster.”

St Christopher’s Lottery Winner Kay Croft

Spending about 20 hours a week on her new passion, Kay is now completing a quilt every week to 10 days or so.

As well as buying the machine, winning the St Christopher’s lottery enabled Kay to treat herself to a long-desired trip and invest in her son’s fledgling business.

“Visting Edinburgh Castle was on my bucket list, so it was wonderful to be able to take my daughter and 12-year-old granddaughter there – even if climbing the steps did nearly kill me!

“Then I gave my son money for an i-Pad to help him with the business he’s started – upcycling furniture.”

Kay loves the no waste policy at the Bell House Quilting Academy too. “Anything left over is used to make hot water bottle covers for Brixton Food Bank and then the scraps are turned into four-inch squares and sent to Fine Cell Works in Brixton Prison where the prisoners make quilts.”

While Kay’s win may have come out of the blue and she says felt undeserved, she has absolutely no regrets about playing the St Christopher’s lottery.

Winning the lottery has enhanced my life so much because it has given me a focus. Before I would sit in front of the TV and do my knitting. Now, I have to plan things out, get the fabric and work out what to do and then get on with it and create a wonderful quilt.

“It never ceases to amaze me how unique they are and, what’s lovely is, the incubator quilts go home with the children. It gives me a connection to people that I never get to meet, and it makes me realise I am doing something worthwhile – it’s so rewarding. I feel like I’m giving back to the community what it gave to me.”

Kay is thinking long and hard what to do with the remainder of the winnings and is still playing the St Christopher’s lottery, not because she’s expecting to win but because she wants to continue to support a good cause.

If, like Kay, you would like to support a fantastic cause and be in with a chance to travel or perhaps take up a new hobby, play the St Christopher’s lottery.

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