24 January 2009

We’re in the money but some will go to a charity that supports us so much

DEVOTED dad plans to treat his disabled son and a charity to a slice of his luck after scooping a share of a £25,000 jackpot.

Tom Blair, 67, and his daughter Joanne Blair, 38, shared the money after winning in the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Tom, of Acklam Road, Middlesbrough, has devoted his life to looking after his son Ian, 31, who has cerebral palsy and requires round-the-clock care.

Tom was an analyst in the steel industry but had to give up work 11 years ago, after his wife Norma died of cancer, to become Ian’s carer.

He said: “This win is wonderful. Ian has cerebral palsy and care costs are really high. Though we get grants, it doesn’t cover everything and money is tight. This will make a big difference.

“I was surprised, but not as elated as my daughter because she needed the cash a lot more - she’s now in the black!”
His £12,500 will go towards a new wheelchair-friendly vehicle and alterations to the house where he has lived for 32 years. Tom’s commitments mean that he hasn’t been on holiday in 22 years but thanks to charity Teesside Ability Support Centre (TASC) he gets four days off once a year.

And as a 12-year TASC committee member, Tom plans to give some of the money to the charity that provides social care and life skills learning opportunities for disabled adults like Ian.

Tom said: “They provide an excellent service. It deserves more publicity than it’s getting. They’ve got good staff and I think the facilities are very good.

“But the facilities can always be improved and expanded, which is what we are doing.”

Joanne, who works as a volunteer counsellor with domestic violence support centre My Sister’s Place, said: “My money’s going to pay off debts - it’ll be great to be free of them.”

The winning postcode was TS5 8BE, and 67 other households matched part of it to win cash prizes.

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