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Charity Gala 2019

George and Amal Clooney named "Postcode Heroes" at Edinburgh ceremony

George and Amal Clooney have been presented with prestigious Postcode Hero awards in recognition of their work to safeguard human rights by Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

The couple also received a cheque for £1 Million raised by players of People's Postcode Lottery. The money will help fund TrialWatch - a project run by the Clooney Foundation for Justice. The Foundation now plans to increase its monitoring of trials in countries where human rights are at risk.

The presentation was one of the highlights of People's Postcode Lottery's Charity Gala, held at the University of Edinburgh's McEwan Hall.

During the event, Mr and Mrs Clooney were interviewed by the broadcaster and Save the Children charity ambassador, Natasha Kaplinsky. They spoke passionately about the need to protect and enhance human rights.

George Clooney said, "This is a spectacular organisation. This is a really special thing. You look around the room and see a hundred people who are doing amazing things - it's an honour to be part of this."

He added, "If you end up getting lucky, then you should share that luck. I've always felt that."

Amal Clooney said, "The scale of the problem can seem enormous, and the stories you hear unfathomable, and you think: how do you begin to confront something like that. It's individuals who can make a difference in even the most grim circumstances."

Following the interview, the Clooneys were presented with their awards by Nicola Sturgeon.

The First Minister said, "Amal and George Clooney are worthy recipients of these Postcode Hero Awards which recognise their outstanding commitment to improving people's lives and ensuring some of the most vulnerable people in our world get the justice, opportunities and support that they need.

"This funding from People's Postcode Lottery will support the Clooney Foundation for Justice's powerful work to advance justice for marginalised or persecuted groups, refugees and displaced children.

"Since it began People's Postcode Lottery has raised more than £400 Million for good causes. I am delighted to be given this opportunity to congratulate them and all of the charities and grassroots organisations they work with."

The prominent women's rights campaigner, Nice Nailantei Leng'ete, was also presented with a Postcode Hero award in recognition of her work to end Female Genital Mutilation/cutting amongst Maasai communities in Kenya. Ms Leng'ete also received a cheque for £500,000 for Amref Health Africa UK.

Speaking about her own story and the charity's work, Nice said, "After nearly four years of dialogue, the elders in my village changed hundreds of years of culture and abandoned cutting. The number of girls attending school soared.

"With Amref Health Africa's support, the campaign spread to neighbouring villages and eventually to the highest seat of Maasai power. The players of People's Postcode Lottery are helping us achieve our ambitions to end Female Genital Mutilation/cutting altogether.

"The practice is devastating for the health, rights and chances of young girls, and we won't stop until every girl in Africa can become the woman of her dreams."

Watch video of Nice Nailantei Leng'ete's speech at our Charity Gala and hear her amazing story.

The annual People's Postcode Lottery Charity Gala is a celebration of the vitally important work done by the charities which are supported by our players.

In 2018 alone, more than £100 Million was awarded to charities working in Britain and beyond. In total, players have now raised more than £404 Million for charities and good causes.

Clara Govier, Managing Director of People's Postcode Lottery said, "It was our honour to welcome George and Amal Clooney, Nicola Sturgeon and Nice Nailantei Leng'ete to our Charity Gala.

"The event provided a powerful demonstration of how players are changing lives for the better here in Britain and around the world."

Meanwhile, People's Postcode Lottery has revealed that Medical Detection Dogs, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Women for Women International and the Alzheimer's Society are to join the growing list of charities supported by players.

The winners of the 2019 Dream Fund, which offers organisations the opportunity to apply for financial support to bring their dream project to life, were also announced at the Charity Gala. They each won £1 Million.

Make Fashion Circular, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is a project to help change the way clothes are designed, made, used and reused. It will help inspire designers to change the way they make clothes and significantly reduce their impact on the environment.

Water Works, led by the Wildlife Trusts for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, received the funding to address the problem of soil desiccation, erosion, and biodiversity loss.

Brilliant Butterfly Banks, led by London Wildlife Trust, won the money to transform rare chalk grassland habitat and collect data on invertebrates using pioneering DNA analysis.

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George and Amal Clooney were joined on stage by broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky
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