Lottery winners get stuck in creating herb garden at dog ‘retirement home’

A team of 20 volunteers, with a combined wealth of around £27 million, helped out at the Cinnamon Trust site in Devon.

Rod Minchin
Wednesday 21 June 2023 18:17 BST
Lottery winner Zoe Hoare, right, was among the lottery-winning volunteers giving up their time (Martin Bennett/National Lottery/PA)
Lottery winner Zoe Hoare, right, was among the lottery-winning volunteers giving up their time (Martin Bennett/National Lottery/PA) (PA Media)

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


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” a new lease of life.

With a combined wealth of around £27 million, 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, were now resident at the trust’s home in Devon.

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 residents could amble and browse to their hearts content among more than 20 varieties of herbs.

Meanwhile, those with slightly more spring in their step would be able to enjoy the bespoke doggy gym which included 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 they have been able to help dogs who have been less fortunate, fostering Romanian stray dogs and volunteering for a rescue centre in Spain.

Mrs Doyle 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.”

The trust’s two pet retirement homes take in a variety of animals when their owners have made prior arrangements for their beloved companion to be cared for.

Following the help of National Lottery winners from across the south-west of England, they can also enjoy their own gym and herb garden.

Sanctuary manager Julie White added: “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.

“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.”

The winners who gave up their time to help the Cinnamon Trust included Neil and Sue Smart, who won £1 million, £3 million-winner Jenn Burston, Viv Moss who received a £6.5 million jackpot, and Andrea Holmes who won £2.5 million.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in