An energetic team of National Lottery winners donned their sun hats and put in a day of hard graft to give the four-legged residents at a pet ‘retirement home’ in Lewdown a new lease of life.

With a combined wealth of around £27M, the team of 20 winners stepped up when they heard about the Cinnamon Trust’s plan to install a herb garden and gym specifically for the dogs who, having lost their owners, are now resident at the Trust’s home in Lewdown.

Working alongside the Cinnamon Trust team, the millionaire workforce rolled up their sleeves getting stuck in to create a uniquely dog-friendly space where the more senior hounds can amble and browse to their hearts content amongst more than 20 varieties of herbs. Meanwhile, those with slightly more spring in their step will be able to enjoy the bespoke doggy gym which includes ramps, sand pits and a one-of-a-kind lottery ball pit.

Leading the team were National Lottery millionaires Ruth and Peter Doyle whose win enabled them to retire early and enjoy more time with their beloved dogs, Bailey and Lily. Their win has also meant that they have been able to help dogs who have been less fortunate, fostering Romanian stray dogs and volunteering for a rescue centre in Spain.

Ruth said: “It’s been wonderful working as a team today in the beautiful Devon countryside. Hopefully our efforts will make life for the dogs who live in the care of the amazing Cinnamon Trust family just that little bit more enjoyable in their twilight years.

“Our win meant that we could help dogs that had been mistreated while also spending more time with our two. From the moment the win was confirmed they benefited, we even treated them to their own specially adapted dog van so they would be more comfortable when we went on holidays! Sadly, we lost Bailey earlier this year but, once again, the win helped us as we were always able to give him absolutely the best care and treatment, even in those last sad weeks.”

Alongside running a nationwide volunteer programme of pet fosterers and dog walkers which ensures older people can keep their pets with them at home, the Cinnamon Trust’s two ‘pet retirement homes’ take in a variety of pets when their owners have made prior arrangements that their beloved companion will be cared for, for evermore. From ponies to sheep, cats to canaries, or tortoises and chickens, the Cinnamon Trust provides an as-similar-to-home-as-possible experience.

For the resident dogs at the Devon home such as the Corgi sisters, Becky and Bonnie, feisty Vanja the Swedish Vallhund and Nina the doting golden retriever, this means a bungalow with plenty of comfy sofas and attentive staff dispensing plenty of cuddles and pats. And now, thanks to the help of National Lottery winners from across the South West, they can also enjoy their own gym and herb garden.

Julie White, sanctuary manager, was astounded at all that was achieved, she said: “So much of what we do is making sure that the pets that arrive here enjoy the same level of care, love and attention that they would have received with their owners. Many of our dogs, like their owners before, are a little elderly, so keeping them active is paramount for their good health which is where the National Lottery Winner Volunteer Workforce came in today, building us a doggy herb garden and gym which will keep their senses, and limbs, in good order.

“The herb garden isn’t as crazy as it sounds, there’s quite a bit of evidence that allowing dogs to self-select from a range of herbs not only keeps them entertained but also helps the dogs to self-treat common ailments like tummy ache or stiff joints.

“Our happy hounds won’t know that a workforce worth £27-million built this for them but we will, and every day our dogs enjoy the herb garden, or gym, we’ll remember that on a very wet/hot day in June, this gang of National Lottery winners provided some hard work, plenty of laughs and that they gave up their time in this way.”