Big hearted Lottery winner, Sharin McCourt from Derry paid a visit to Assistance Dogs NI (ADNI) with Christmas treats for some very cute four-legged friends, one of whom is a life-saver.
Sharin, who won a staggering £250,000 on a National Lottery Scratchcard, donated some much needed bags of feed for Assistance Dogs NI to keep their new trainees, Dottie and Dixie, two 12-week old Labradors, fed and happy into the New Year.
Assistance Dogs Northern Ireland also received £697,825 from the Big Lottery Fund for their five-year ‘Supporting Children, Supporting Families’ programme which will help to provide essential training for dogs who will be placed with disabled children in Northern Ireland.
Whilst there, Sharin, also met black Labrador, Costa, who at one a half years old, has already saved the life of the autistic boy he now lives with, three times.
Sharin McCourt, said: “The work that ADNI does is truly remarkable. The dogs provide essential care for the children they are placed with but also an unstinting loyalty and friendship that improves the lives of the kids and their families. I am honored to have helped out and to have met some of these incredible dogs.”
Helen McKenna, Press Officer at ADNI, said: “Our aim is to train assistance dogs to improve the quality of life for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and for people who have a mobility disability. The award from the Big Lottery Fund will allow us to recruit more personnel and train more dogs for the people all over Northern Ireland who need them.
“We would also like to pay tribute to our volunteers whose continuing dedication helps us to make a difference in many people’s lives across the country.”
The family of Castlerock boy, Henry (aged 11) have owned Costa, a one and a half year old black Labrador and assistance dog, since September this year, and have him to thank for saving their son’s life.
Henry’s mother, Barbara Smyth, said: “Costa has saved our son’s life on three different occasions – you cannot put a price on that. He’s our hero and we couldn’t love him anymore or pour enough praise on the work that ADNI does for families like us. We would like to thank them and to pay tribute to Costa who is a real Christmas miracle to us.”
Each week National Lottery players raise over £34 million for National Lottery projects across the UK. To date more than 450,000 grants have been awarded – an average of 135 grants for every postcode district.
To find out more about Assistance Dogs NI please visit www.adni.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 9029 7880.
To find out more about where National Lottery funding goes, visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/