With a combined wealth of over £24 million, the lottery winners took group members from With Music In Mind on a trip down memory lane and gave up their time to throw the swanky swing music afternoon at Cowbridge’s Bear Hotel.
The party included a Rat Pack themed band with winners on hand to jazz up the venue, serve food and drinks, chat with guests, and even lend their best singing voices to join in renditions of Rat Pack classics.
With Music In Mind runs singing groups for people aged 50 and over, at risk of social isolation, loneliness, or worsening physical or mental wellbeing and has previously received National Lottery funding.
The groups are run weekly, led by a musical director and involve singing and socialising. The charity runs four groups in the Vale of Glamorgan area – Cowbridge, Barry, St Athan and Llantwit Major.
Sarah Miles, Managing Director of With Music In Mind, said: “At With Music In Mind our mission is to provide a service for those most vulnerable people who can easily slip through the net, or those who want to access a supportive, fun, integrative group with benefits for their wellbeing.
“We don’t often have a lot of money left over for extra treats such as a Christmas party, and so we’re extremely grateful to the National Lottery winners for treating us to such a wonderful afternoon.
“Our members really enjoyed getting a chance to dress up and do what they love best, which is singing. The Rat Pack theme really seemed to strike a chord with them and they certainly came away with smiles on their faces.”
Since 2016 With Music In Mind, which formed the previous year, has received over £100,000 of National Lottery funding from the Big Lottery Fund to hold singing sessions for isolated, older people, as well as those living with conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy, mental health issues and dementia. The group is a Community Interest Company, so any funds raised go directly into service provision for the benefit of the local community.
More than 20 National Lottery winners have been involved in donating their time to host the Christmas get-together for the singing groups.
Winners helping spread some nostalgic Christmas joy came from across South Wales and the South West of England, and included members of The Catering Girls syndicate from Neath Port Talbot Hospital, who scooped over £25 million between them on EuroMillions in November 2017.
Nigel Willetts, from Caerphilly, who won £1m in 2014, was keen to get involved with the Christmas festivities, and said: “Throughout the year we really enjoy giving our time to projects that benefit local communities, and so we jumped at the chance to be involved in hosting a Christmas party for this great group.
“It’s so clear just how much enjoyment the members of With Music in Mind get from their sessions, and it was a joy to be able to chat with them and join in with a few renditions of the Christmas classics – although I think they put us winners to shame with their fabulous singing!”