English lottery winner Charmaine Watson has invested £20,000 of her winnings into an anti-bullying musical which has opened in London.
A victim of sustained bullying during her school days, 31-year-old Watson decided to fight back by using the large chunk of her winnings to finance a rock musical with an anti-bullying message.
“The songs in this show make you feel you can achieve anything you want to,” she said. “I have always been one to go to every show I can and I’m really hoping that this will change some of the lives in the audience. If one child watches it and feels able to tell their parents or teachers about bullying, this will be the best lottery money I could ever have spent.”
The musical, Stand Tall, started out as a show for schools, based on the David and Goliath story.
“We are living the dream now because of all the interest,” said the show’s publicist, Michael Dove.
“I approached Charmaine to see if she was interested in investing, partly because she was local to us in Oxfordshire. She really bought into the show when she heard the music and that’s why we made her associate producer.”
Watson said her decision to invest £20,000 in Stand Tall was motivated by the bullying she endured at secondary school, an experience that caused her to suffer a complete loss of self-confidence.
“I was just the wrong face in the crowd. I was shy and they made fun of me for living in a council house, for my weight, my height, my hair colour – everything. They picked on me every day for five years and I hated going to school so much that I would make myself physically sick. One day I just ran home crying into my mother’s arms and she contacted the school. It took years for me to recover,” she said.
Watson won a £2.3 million lottery jackpot six years ago when she was struggling to raise her first child, Ryan, on her own.
“My grandad started buying me a lottery ticket every Wednesday after my 16th birthday, but that week he checked the wrong numbers,” she said. “On Friday, my phone was ringing from about five in the morning because my grandmother had checked them again. I went round to their house with my son and they held up the numbers to show me.”
Watson is still amazed by her win. “Even now it hasn’t sunk in. I am overwhelmed that I can give my children things I never had. I bought a home for my son and me, and I bought my mother her home too,” she said.
And even despite the financial risks in doing so, the opportunity to support a cause close to her heart far outweighed those risks for Watson.
“I spoke to my bank manager about investing in Stand Tall and he explained the risks, but I decided to take it into my own hands,” she said.View Comments