Arboretum Has Special Place in Nation's Hearts
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The National Memorial Arboretum has topped a public vote of the favourite places funded by the National Lottery in England over the last 20 years.
The UK’s centre of remembrance, which part of The Royal British Legion family of charities, received the most votes in a National Treasures survey, which asked social media users to choose their favorite from a range of iconic venues, landmarks and facilities that have benefited from Lottery funding.
The news comes ahead of the 20th anniversary of the first National Lottery draw, which took place on 19 November 1994. Since then players have raised over £32 billion for more than 430,000 projects across the UK. Over £53 billion has been paid out in prizes and more than 3,600 millionaires created so far.
The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK's year-round centre of Remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country. Containing over 300 memorials, including the striking Armed Forces Memorial, it welcomes some 300,000 visitors a year.
Sarah Montgomery, managing director of the National Memorial Arboretum, said: "The National Lottery has played a significant role in our development and we're now truly honoured that the public has chosen us as their favourite place. Our visitors come from all walks of life, and we now welcome over 10,000 school children every year. For some, the primary draw is to pay respect to our Armed Forces, but for many others, it is about exploring the beautiful and fascinating natural landscape we have created, and gaining a greater personal understanding of remembrance in all of its guises.”
More than £8 million of National Lottery funding has been awarded to the National Memorial Arboretum. It beat The Eden Project in Cornwall and The Beamish Museum in County Durham into second and third place in the National Treasures poll, which attracted over 66,000 votes.
As well as voting for England’s favorite place, the public chose Stephen Fry as their favourite National Treasure for his work as President of mental health charity, Mind, and Patron of Norwich Playhouse Theatre, which have both received Lottery funding.
Jackie O’Sullivan, Director at the National Lottery Promotions Unit, said: “The UK is home to some of the best museums, sports facilities, visitor attractions and venues in the world and National Lottery players should be proud that they are supporting so many.
“The National Treasures survey was a fun way of celebrating these places and recognising the contribution Lottery players make towards them. The National Memorial Arboretum is a very deserving winner. Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for the people and places they care about most.”
• The shortlisted iconic places in England were: Beamish Museum (County Durham), Eden Project (Cornwall), Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (London), The Hepworth (Wakefield), The Lowry (Manchester), Manchester Sport City, The Mary Rose Museum (Portsmouth), The Museum of Liverpool, National Space Centre (Leicester), Turner Contemporary (Margate), Wembley Stadium (London)
• The shortlisted iconic faces in England were: Rizzle Kicks (trained at AudioActive), Esther Rantzen (founder of The Silver Line Helpline), Colin Firth (star of Lottery-funded film The King’s Speech) and Jess Ennis-Hill (Lottery-funded Olympian)
• There were more than 66,000 votes in the National Treasures survey, which took place via Facebook in May
For more information contact Natasha Brown on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 211 3927