Battersea couple turn pension pots into £500k lottery for LGBTQ+ community

A Battersea couple have turned their pension pots into a lottery which is projected to raise more than £500,000 for the LGBTQ+ community.

During lockdown in 2020, Tom Gattos, 74, and his partner, David Murray, 68, had the idea for a lottery which directly supports LGBTQ+ people. 

The couple, who live together near Battersea Park, had never been involved in LGBTQ+ charity work before. But, almost four years later The Rainbow Lottery is projected to raise more than half a million pounds for LGBTQ+ projects around the UK. 

Mr Gattos said: “Some might say it’s payback time. Which is certainly true. 

“But what is also true, is that with this lottery, we can be catalysts to assist the community coming together in one central arena of support. 

“Hopefully, we can finally be on a level playing field with society at large, which is all the LGBTQ+ community has ever asked.”

Mr Gattos, born in Pittsburgh, US said he knew that he was gay from a very young age. 

Tom Gattos, co-founder of The Rainbow Lottery (Picture: Tom Gattos)

As soon as he was able to explore his sexuality, he travelled around the world, visiting New York, South Africa and London. Mr Gattos originally planned to stay in the capital for six months, but during his visit he met his partner of 44 years, Mr Murray. So he stayed. 

The couple say they have lived a fairly constant life, enjoying their respective careers in advertising and architecture, but, the challenges of the pandemic pushed them to discuss what they wanted their legacy to be.

Mr Murray said: “We had both enjoyed our lives being out and proud, but it was nothing more than that.

“We searched for a lottery that supported LGBTQ+ causes and found nothing, so we decided to make that our project.”

Both men said they had a good sum of money in their pension pots and used it to set up their new business venture.

Mr Murray said: “Little did we know that the community would welcome it so warmly.”

Tom Gattos holds a poster for The Rainbow Lottery (Picture: Tom Gattos)

In its first year The Rainbow Lottery raised £100,000, with the current figure to date being £300,000. Now, the lottery is on track to raised more than half a million pounds in 2024.

For £1 a week, players choose a row of six numbers between zero and nine. Every Saturday night, the draw is made and prizes are given to players with tickets that match the first or last two to six numbers from the winning combination. If a player matches all six they win the weekly jackpot of £25,000.

For every £1 ticket sold, 50p goes directly to good causes within the LGBTQ+ community. Players can cselect from national causes such as Stonewall, Terrence Higgins Trust and Pride in London, to regional and local charities too. 

With 50 per cent of the funds going to the organisations themselves, The Rainbow Lottery is offering charities double what other major lotteries do.

Jake O’Dwyer, of the charity Stonewall, said: “Thank you, Tom and David, for creating something that gives back to the LGBTQ+ community, as the team at Rainbow Lottery say – everybody wins!”  

To buy your tickets for The Rainbow Lottery, click here. 

Pictured top: From left, David Murray and his partner Tom Gattos (Picture: Tom Gattos)

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