John Barnes couldn’t be happier that the world is finally on the move again.
And with this year’s European Championship just around the corner, the former English ace was enjoying a long overdue return to his old “Happy Place” of the Three Lions as lockdown restrictions eased.
Barnes, who made 79 caps for England between 1983 and 1995, has participated in a new series of portraits called “Ticket To Your Happy Place” commissioned by the National Lottery.
The innovative series was shot by photographer Tom Oldham and celebrates all the places that make us happy, that we love to visit and that we missed over the past year.
Liverpool FC legend Barnes, who memorably appeared as the rapper in New Orders Italia’s 90 hit “World In Motion”, made Wembley his favorite place and loved to reappear under the legendary old arch.
The 57-year-old, whose portrait was commissioned to celebrate the National Lottery Open Week (June 5-13) and National Lottery Cinema Weekend (June 19-20), said, “I have many fond memories here had Wembley.
“One of my first memories was growing up in Jamaica as a young boy and watching the 1974 FA Cup final in which Liverpool beat Newcastle.
“Nowadays I like to come to Wembley alone because I like to be in my own zone and enjoy the atmosphere – even though there are 90,000 other people around me!
“I think the amazing thing about Wembley is that it makes everyone, not just the elite football teams, feel successful and happy when they get together.”
Liam Boylan, Director of Wembley Stadium added: “We are very pleased that John has chosen Wembley Stadium as his ‘lucky place’ and that, like so many, he has such a strong affinity for our legendary venue.
“Funding from the National Lottery was critical to the construction of Wembley Stadium and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who bought a National Lottery ticket, helped us on our journey, and made an important contribution to supporting good causes . “
National Lottery Open Week offers specials and free entry to participating venues between June 5th and June 13th, while National Lottery Cinema Weekend (June 19-20th) is giving away free movie tickets to more than 500 cinemas across the UK. All as a thank you for the £ 30 million raised every week for good causes by National Lottery players.
And Oldham’s series of festivities has shed light on several other “happy places” in the UK, with Welsh swim stars Daniel Jervis and Xavier Castelli also returning to their favorite spot.
Two-time Commonwealth Games medalists Jervis and Castelli say the Wales National Pool is their lucky place and they both enjoyed pondering their memories of the Swansea venue.
Jervis, 24, said: “This is where I won my first gold medal. What I love most about the pool is how calm it makes me feel.
“I’ve been training every day since I was a kid, so I really missed this place while it was closed. I’m really happy to be back under water and with my friends. “
30-year-old competitive swimmer Castelli added, “The National Pool here in Swansea is a place where we can be ourselves.
“Being in the water gives me a relaxed feeling and where I feel most comfortable, so I’m really looking forward to competing with a real audience again and being in a club environment with my teammates.”
London-based screenwriter Marley Morrison is also part of Oldham’s series and hailed BFI Southbank as her “happy place”.
Morrison recently premiered her debut film – Sweetheart – at the Glasgow Film Festival, where it won the prestigious Audience Award.
And after visiting her beloved BFI Southbank, the 35-year-old said, “I’m happiest to sit in the back row of the BFI Southbank and watch a great movie with my friends.
“Cinema in general has changed my life in many ways. It has helped me to understand myself better and to get an insight into the lives of others. The cinema gives many marginalized people around the world the opportunity to see themselves reflected on the screen. “
Photographer Oldham is the creative force behind the “Ticket To Your Happy Place” series, which comes after the National Lottery has researched that more than eight out of ten of us (81 percent) miss our “happy place” in lockdown to have.
Over half (57 percent) of UK adults want to visit their favorite place the first time they get the chance, and Oldham proudly added, “The greatest privilege of being the photographer for this project was learning the stories behind each ‘happy place’ heard ‘.
“Whether a nature reserve, sports facility, art gallery or cinema – every person has a unique story about why they have chosen their happy place.
“I’m thrilled that the National Lottery is helping people and institutions with the National Lottery Open Week and Cinema Weekend.”
To find the closest participating Happy Place venues and cinemas where your National Lottery ticket or scratch card will unlock these specials, go to http://www.NationalLotteryUnlocked.com