Shropshire Star

Iron Bridge used for National Lottery giant balls stunt

People in Ironbridge were in for a shock this morning, when three inflatable balls, each the size of double-decker buses floated under the iconic Bridge.

The lottery balls under the Iron Bridge

The once-in-a-lifetime spectacle was part of a national campaign to launch the revamped Lotto game - with the price of a ticket doubling to £2.

Today's publicity stunt was organised in an effort to persuade people to part with the extra pound every time they play.

The rise in price, the first since the lottery began in 1994, is part of a package of changes including some bigger prizes.

Instead of £10 for matching three numbers, winners will receive £25.

Average jackpots are predicted to rise to around £5m on Saturdays and £2.5m on Wednesdays.

But some other prizes will be reduced. Camelot estimates that the reward for matching five balls plus the bonus ball will average £50,000 instead of £100,000.

People from all over the town poured on to the Iron Bridge to take in todays' publicity stunt.

Celeste Cameron, 37, from Ironbridge had come down with her sons Daniel, two, and Harry, five months.

She said: "It's really exciting, my children have really enjoyed seeing the big balls."

Jenny Dowden, a spokeswoman for Camelot which runs the National Lottery, said: "We chose Ironbridge because it has benefitted from National Lottery funding.

"It's a beautiful location, and we wanted to do a number of quirky things to launch the new game.

"It's really important because we want to show people that Lotto is bigger and better, but also that when they buy a ticket, they're also helping provide funding for places like Ironbridge."

The giant lottery balls on the River Severn at Ironbridge. Photo: Nige - @IronbridgeAAC

Councillor Bill McClements, from Telford & Wrekin council, said: "We're proud that Ironbridge has been chosen.

"Our campaign is Destination Telford, to get more people coming to the town. For us this is fantastic, a lot of people take part in the lottery or have at least heard of it, so this is a great way to sell it.

"Ninety-three cent of Tourism to Ironbridge is British people and we want even more to come here."

Ironbridge itself has received £10 million in Lottery funding, while Telford as a whole has received £40 million.

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