The Lottery - 26-08-16
Do you remember where you were on the evening of Saturday 19th November 1994? There's a fair chance that, like my family, you were sitting around the TV watching 6 balls fall out of a machine as 22 million of us hoped for a win from the first ever national lottery draw.
Be you a winner or a loser in the lottery game itself, that evening started a fund from which millions of us benefit through grants to our national heritage, charities, sports and special causes.
A couple of years later at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta Britain's Olympians reached a low point in our sporting history, winning just one gold from a total of 15 medals. It was time to find some money and later that year the National Lottery designated part of its revenue towards our Olympic effort.
8 years further on I was one of the lucky spectators at the 2004 Athens Olympics where we went on to win 28 medals and a new dawn had begun.
Our sporting governing bodies have since enjoyed an unbroken funding stream from the National Lottery allowing them to develop and follow a long term strategy for medal success focussing upon the right sports, finding the best talent and bringing in the finest expertise the world has to offer.
In 2008 our Olympians won 47 medals; in London 2012 the figure rose to 65; and after 16 days of action, jubilation, heart-break and drama of the highest quality, the 2016 Rio Olympics have elevated Britain to become a sporting super power with Team GB winning 67 medals and coming second in the final league table.
Next time you're tempted to buy a lottery ticket remember it creates much more than just one jackpot, so why buy one ticket when you can have two! Here's to success for our Paralympians this September and then onwards and upwards to Tokyo in 2020.
Helen's weekly column is published every Friday in the Kent Messenger. The content shown here may differ slightly from the press version.