People’s Millions success for the Heart of Duns

Duns Players lining up ready to stage 'Ladies Day'
Duns Players lining up ready to stage 'Ladies Day'

Disappointment in Duns that the town had been beaten in the head to head for ITV Borders People’s Millions competition turned to joy last week when they finished in fourth place.

For nine years now, ITV Borders has hosted the National Lottery People’s Millions competition when community groups and projects in the television region battle for viewers votes with the winners receiving grants of up to £50,000.

This year a £43,000 bid from Duns Community Players went in, supported by Heart of Duns, to create a community theatre and cinema space in the Volunteer Hall and as one of the chosen finalists they went head to head with a Peebles music project.

Andrew Lester, who headed up the Duns bid, said: “We did not win the pitch against Nomad Music from Peebles - a very good project - but as the highest placed runner up we were awarded a bonus. And the bonus was - what we asked for in the first place - £43,000.

“It’s been a roller coaster of anticipation, expectation, realisation, depression and then joy.

“A very big thank you to all who voted in hundreds to get us into fourth place. If you hadn’t done your bit we wouldn’t have made it to our goal.

“So thank you. thank you, thank you.”

Duns Players’ Peter Lerpiniere explained what the money will be spent on: “The Volunteer Hall facilities are fairly basic, so we are aiming for a new lighting rig, a projection and sound system, and blackout curtains. These upgrades would also bring benefits for concerts, film nights and other events at the hall.”

Derek Janes added: “We could not have done what we did without the enthusiastic support of members of both Duns Players and Duns and District Amateur Operatic Society, and the young people from ‘Jungle Book’ who were such stars of the TV film.”

The project is one of four ITV Borders groups celebrating a total of £192,169 thanks to winning over the voting public with their inspirational ideas. This year nearly £3.6 million has been awarded The People’s Lottery across the UK.

Jackie Killeen, director Big Lottery Fund Scotland, said: “People’s Millions is a great way for local people to get behind hard working projects doing great things for their communities. This is a brilliant result for the people of Peebles and for the community in Duns. Thanks to everyone that voted and helped to improve local lives in their communities.”