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A life-changing phone call

When the phone started ringing on a Friday in May last year, Beverly de Vink was annoyed. She’d finally managed to sit down in front of the telly after a long day. It was time to put her feet up and relax. 

“I’d been out for a big lunch with my friend and at about 5pm I decided to make a cup of tea and have a chocky biscuit. I’d just sat down and was picking up my cup of tea when the phone rang. I thought ‘bugger!’ But I put the cup down, got up and took the call.”

Of course, on the other end of the phone was Heart Foundation Lottery Manager Gail McIntyre, who was ringing to tell Beverly she’d won first prize – a brand new fully-furnished, three-bedroom Jennian dream home in Whangamata. 

“Well, I screamed and I screamed. I was just so up in the air. I didn’t end up having my cup of tea or my chocky biscuit,” Beverly recalls. “I was on cloud nine for three weeks and I still am.”

Beverly, aged 72, was living in Pakuranga when she won the Heart Foundation Lottery. Within a short time she’d quit her job, sold her home and moved to Whangamata, a beautiful white-sand beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. 

But within a few weeks of relocating, she was having second thoughts. 

“It was very quiet because there were not many houses in my street then. I was a bit scared and nervous at first, not knowing anyone here. After about two weeks I felt very lonely and thought to myself ‘what am I doing here?’”

Things soon changed when Beverly met her neighbours Christine and Jim Green, who she discovered had won Lottery No. 74. They met when Christine wandered over and invited Beverly to dinner. 

“I burst into tears. We’ve been friends ever since.”

Beverly says winning the Lottery has changed her life. It’s not only given her an incredible new home, but also introduced her to a stunning part of New Zealand and a warm new community. 

“The people are so friendly here. You can stop in the street and have a chat with them. A lot of people have made me feel very, very welcome. I’ve never been so happy in all my life. I’m just over the moon.”

Does she still buy tickets for the Lottery?

“Oh yes, I still take my tickets. I think the Heart Foundation does a wonderful job.”

The Heart Foundation’s Lottery is celebrating its 21st Birthday this month. To mark the occasion, the Lottery is putting on its biggest ever prize pool, including a stunning three-bedroom Jennian dream home in Pauanui.

Lottery Manager Gail McIntyre says the programme has become one of the charity’s major revenue-generating activities since it was founded in 1993.

“The reason we started this lottery programme was to help raise funds to stop New Zealanders dying prematurely of heart disease – the country’s single biggest killer. The proceeds from each and every ticket go towards funding the Heart Foundation’s life-saving work.”

She says entering the Lottery offers Kiwis the chance to win incredible prizes, while supporting a worthwhile cause.