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COMMENT ON THIS STORY: Lottery mum's £50,000 gift to Ethiopian orphanage

WHITBY'S millionaire Lotto mum Jane Surtees has shared her wealth with the orphans of Ethiopia. Pictures courtesy of The Sun newspaper

Jane (48) who scooped a 7.5m jackpot five months ago, last week jetted out to the African country which has one of the highest populations of orphans in the world, many of whom have lost their parents to AIDS.

The mum-of-five who had always dreamed of winning the lottery, also had another secret wish – to help the plight of countless starving children she has seen on television over the years.

She travelled to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa where she visited the Kidane Mehret Children's Home which cares for 120 children.

The youngest child there is just three days old and the oldest child is aged 17.

It is run by nuns Sister Lutgarda and Sister Camilla from Malta and for the past 40 years they have been taking in needy children off the street providing them with love, shelter, food and clothing.

Jane was so moved she gave them a cheque for 50,000 and has also pledged a sizeable donation for years to come to support the Kidane orphanage and another project Beyond The Orphanage (BTO) which provides small homes, education, counselling and medical treatment for children who have left the orphanage when they reach their teens, as well as those new to the programme.

The orphanage, where toys and books are scarce, is run purely on charitable donations and is only able to feed children with three small meals a day.

Jane told the Whitby Gazette that the experience has changed her life.

"I will never forget seeing the faces of so many beautiful children left poor and starving by events in Ethiopia over the years and I wanted to go and see how I could help," she said.

"In the end, life is all about luck. Because of my good fortune I will never have to worry about money again but these children have been left orphaned or vulnerable by problems that aren't their fault. In some small way I would like to make these children smile.

"The nuns helping these children have achieved so much with so little. They have humbled me. These people have moved mountains and to see this is worth all the money in the world. It has changed my life."

While in Ethiopia, Jane who is to marry her stuntman co-ordinator boyfriend Mark Lisbon in July, visited 15-year-old Workeneh Fanetay whose parents both died when he was just four years old from tubercolosis, meaning he had to bring up his two-year-old brother alone.

Workeneh worked on a building site and ran errands for his neighbours to earn money although there were times when they had starved but since joining the BTO programme 18 months ago, the brothers have moved into a mud hut, planted a vegetable garden and now attend school.

Jane added youngsters in England will benefit from her good fortune through her donations to her adopted charity, Make a Wish Foundation, as well as those in Ethiopia and of course her own children Rachel (23), Richard (21), Naomi (12), Leona (11) and Jasmyn (8).

She said she was surprised at how content the orphans seemed despite having so little.

"The sisters at the orphanage are modern day saints," she said.

"What I have seen in Ethiopia will stay with me for the rest of my life and I want to see it as a long-term commitment and work out the best way to keep helping these people.

"If everyone who won the lottery shared their luck with people like this our country would be a better place. "

* You can comment on this story below. It has changed my life.”

While in Ethiopia, Jane who is to marry her stuntman co-ordinator boyfriend Mark Lisbon in July, visited 15-year-old Workeneh Fanetay whose parents both died when he was just four years old from tubercolosis meaning he had to bring up his two-year-old brother alone.

Workeneh worked on a building site and ran errands for his neighbours to earn money although there were times when they had starved but since joining the BTO programme 18 months ago, the brothers have moved into a mud hut, planted a vegetable garden and now attend school.

Jane added youngsters in England will benefit from her good fortune through her donations to her adopted charity, Make a Wish Foundation, as well as those in Ethiopia and of course her own children Rachel (23), Richard (21), Naomi (12), Leona (11) and Jasmyn (8).

She said she was surprised at how content the oprhans seemed despite having so little.

“The sisters at the orphanage are modern day saints,” she said. “What I have seen in Ethiopia will stay with me for the rest of my life and I want to see it as a long term commitment and work out the best way to keep helping these people.

“If everyone who won the lottery shared their luck with people like this our country would be a better place. ”

 
 
 

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