A great granddad lottery winner has made a £1 MILLION charity donation to an MS centre – as his late wife suffered from the disease.
Big-hearted Peter Congdon, 67, has given the seven-figure sum to the Merlin MS Centre as a lasting tribute to his Rosemary who died at the age of 56 eight years ago.
The modest widower hit the headlines after scooping the £13.5 million jackpot in the Lotto Quadruple Rollover last year – and for celebrating with a cup of tea and a trip to Butlins for his friends and family.
Peter is still in the small three bed council house where he has lived for 28 years after he paid £150,000 for it after his win.
He still calls the bingo at his local club and has made a string of donations to local charities.
And he has now extended his generosity by handing over his biggest present yet to the Merlin MS Centre which he officially announced at the Royal Cornwall Show today.
Peter, who has three children, ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, has lived in Truro, Cornwall, virtually all his life, and described the gift as a fitting tribute to his late wife.
The money is helping to fund a £1.5m hydrotherapy pool.
Peter said: “I cared for my wife for over 30 years and to watch someone you love struggle with a condition like MS is really tough.
“Cornwall had nothing like the Merlin MS Centre at that time and I know Rosemary would have really benefited from what they offer there already.
“I’m glad I’m in a situation to be able to make this donation, and if Rosemary was still alive she’d have done exactly the same.”
Since his win Peter also donated a £33,000 Land Rover Discovery as a prize in a raffle to raise money for the general running of the Merlin MS Centre, £5,000 to two teams at his local rugby club, and provided cash to the Truro Disabled Club and other smaller local charities.
He added: “Since I said I wanted to support the Merlin MS Centre and fund the hydrotherapy pool, people I’ve known for years have come up to me to say they have a family member or relative with MS and thanked me for putting the Merlin Centre of the map.
“That means a lot to me. To be able to help out gives me joy.”
Rosemary died in 2008 of an illness unrelated to MS, but her family have been involved with the Merlin Centre situated near St Austell, Cornwall, since its early days.
Mr Congdon’s donation, together with the additional £500,000 being sought through grant funding, will pay for the pool, a new building to house it, additional parking, a walkway to the centre’s existing building and specialised equipment such as hoists.
Centre manager Loraine Long said: “This is an incredibly generous gift from Peter which will make such a difference to the lives of people across the county, not just with MS, but with other health conditions too.
“This is going to be a really important additional facility for the people of Cornwall.
“A hydrotherapy pool is a much-needed facility and by locating it alongside our centre, subject of course to planning approval, this will provide a wonderful natural therapy for people living with arrange of conditions and to the wider Cornish community.
“The family wanted there to be a lasting legacy to Rosemary, Peter’s wife who had multiple sclerosis and sadly died before the Merlin MS centre was built.
“Everyone here is so delighted for Peter’s incredible pledge.”
Plans for the scheme have been submitted to Cornwall Council and the donation will allow the building work to start as soon as these are approved.