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WWII VETERAN ‘HITCH-HIKES’ TO NORMANDY IN NEW FILM TO PROMOTE NATIONAL LOTTERY FUNDING

Tuesday, January 14, 2014:  A video featuring 88 year old World War II veteran Robert Coupe has been released today as part of the National Lottery’s new ‘Just Imagine’ campaign.  The video is released on Day 14 of ‘Just Imagine’, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the massive impact that £31 billion in project funding has had across the UK since the first National Lottery draw 20 years ago this year.

Mr. Coupe, from Blackpool, is filmed leaving his home before heading to a nearby road in order to ‘hitch-hike’ to Normandy.  The film aims to highlight National Lottery funding that has helped our nation’s heroes travel to overseas remembrance services and memorial events.  The film can be viewed online: http://bit.ly/1diEYnD

Mr. Coupe, who turns 89 on January 26, was called up for Army Service at the age of 18.  He received basic training before being posted to the 5th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, part of 197 Brigade of the 59th Infantry Division.  Mr. Coupe’s active service saw him take part in Operation Charnwood, an Anglo-Canadian offensive to capture to German-occupied French city of Caen, a vital part of the Allied objective during the early stages of the Normandy invasion.

He applied for National Lottery funding for a commemorative trip under the Big Lottery Fund’s Heroes Return programme and has since successfully applied for a second trip as part of the extended Heroes Return 2.  Since 2009, over £25 million has been awarded to more than 52,000 World War II veterans, widows, spouses and carers across the UK for journeys in the UK and to countries including France, Germany, the Middle East, the Far East.

Speaking in the film, Mr. Coupe explains: “I go with the 59th Division members every year and we go round the graves of the comrades.  We lost a lot of men.

“It’s an expensive thing, it’s a lot of money.  I can’t go enough and if I can go with funding then I’m quite happy to go.”

Vicki Kennedy, Director of The National Lottery Promotions Unit, said: “Our war veterans sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms.  It is entirely appropriate that they should receive National Lottery funding to pay their respects to those who didn’t return.  National Lottery players should be proud that they are supporting heroes like Robert Coupe.” 

Released on Twitter (@lottogoodcauses #JustImagine) and Facebook today, the film is the fourteenth in a series of 31 items to feature through January – one for each day and each £1 billion of funding.

The Just Imagine campaign will run through the first four months of the year, with further phases including an original animation movie telling the story of funding, and other “positively disruptive” digital techniques, according to a National Lottery spokesperson.

To enable people to learn more about National Lottery funded projects in their area, the National Lottery has launched a ‘Good Cause Finder’.  To see projects in your area, or to find out more about Just Imagine January, visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk 

-ENDS-


Notes to the editor

Video Links

The online link to the video is:  http://bit.ly/1diEYnD
The video can be embedded online using the following code: 
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wn8RrVAUins" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Contacts
For press enquiries relating to the Just Imagine campaign:
Jim Williams jim.williams@fasttrackagency.com   07814 068 349
Alex Bake alex.bake@fasttrackagency.com 07552 289 290

For press enquiries relating to the National Lottery:
Michael Thompson, Head of Media at the National Lottery Promotions Unit, on 07734 295745.
Weblinks

Website:  www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk
Twitter:  @lottogoodcauses #JustImagine
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/LotteryGoodCauses
About the National Lottery Promotions Unit
The National Lottery Promotions Unit (NLPU) is responsible for raising awareness of Lottery funding to Good Causes. Amongst other initiatives, NLPU manages the National Lottery Awards.
National Lottery funding is awarded through 12 distributing bodies: Big Lottery Fund, UK Sport, Sport England, Sport Wales, Sport NI, Sportscotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Arts Council Wales, Arts Council NI, Creative Scotland and the British Film Institute.

Over £31 billion has been awarded to good cause projects across the UK since the launch of the National Lottery back in 1994.  Currently, £33 million of good cause funding is raised every week by National Lottery players.
 

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