A team of clever National Lottery winners spent the winter blockade building nest boxes to house some of Wales ’forest birds. The creative winners hope their efforts will help strengthen the birds ’presence in two Welsh nature reserves.
Eager to take part in the action were Davinia and Jeff Pritchard of Porthrhyd in Carmarthenshire, who won £ 1M in the EuroMillions UK Millionaire Maker draw in June 2015. The wild pair joined lottery winners nationwide, gathering around their kitchen tables and throwing benches. carry out this project remotely.
The result of their collaboration is a collection of lovingly created nest boxes that will now be installed at two of the Wildlife Trusts of South and West Wales locations; Gelli Hir Wood in Gower and Melincwrt Falls in Neath, where the Wildlife Trust team hopes they can be used to encourage forest birds – including rubies, blue tit, titmouse, charcoal, goldfinches and finches for nesting.
Davinia and Jeff know how important it is to give their own home to birds and animals when building a tiny farm from scratch. In addition to completely transforming their own house, they built a sheep shed, a chicken coop and beehives.
The couple, who created a total of 12 nest boxes, were delighted to visit Gelli Hir Woods, on the edge of Fairwood Common in Gower to deliver the boxes and see for themselves how and where they would be used by the Wildlife Trust.
Jeff said, “The last 12 months have been tough and it’s been great to have a project to get into. Caring for our animals keeps me busy for much of the week, but it was good to have something new to focus on. I really enjoyed being able to do something, especially something so useful . “
Davinia, who is a call coordinator for the Welsh Ambulance Service and worked non-stop during the pandemic, said, “The day’s work can get pretty intense at times, so it was reassuring to be able to turn off and do something. Hands on. I let Jeff build the nest boxes and I was responsible for painting and decorating – just like at home!
“It was also nice to work on a project with so many other Lottery winners and see the nest boxes they came up with. Some of the winners are so creative and their boxes were completely different and completely original. I hope these lucky birds will appreciate all the hard work that has created their new homes. “
Davinia and Jeff were joined by other Welsh winners including Faye and Richard Davies (from Brecon and won £ 1M), David Taylor (from Talbot Green and won £ 1M), Julie Amphlett, Doreen Thompson and Louise Haran (three of the Catering Girl- union of Neath Port Talbot who earned £ 25M), and Will and Sophie Richards (of Swansea and earned £ 1M). Although they couldn’t collaborate in person, the team all inspired each other, sharing images of their creations online.
Paul Thornton, Chief Officer, Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales said, “We have had nest boxes on site in the past, but over time they are damaged by the elements, animals and the birds themselves. As humans are allowed to travel more widely again, there will be nice to have new nest boxes to attract birds and allow our visitors to see the birds nesting.
“We thank the winners for their hard work – and also the players of The National Lottery. With every ticket purchased, players help Wildlife Trusts as well as ours to bring wildlife and wildlife to life and benefit communities by offering the opportunity to experience nature on its doorstep .
“Nationally, since its launch in 1994 more than £ 338 million in National Lottery has helped support 46 Natural Trusts in the UK to deliver nature recovery projects across all four Nations.”
Nest box construction is the newest volunteer project with which big winners of the National Lottery have participated. Since the onset of the pandemic, the previous winners have pooled their resources to create fresh vegetable boxes for schools and NHS workers and knit double meals for people with dementia – this involved making small clothes for premature babies and knitting Christmas angels for local charities. .