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Diana Gambling Game Criticized

January 24, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ A decision by the Princess Diana memorial fund to use a gambling game to raise money for charity is being criticized as tasteless and inappropriate.

The fund’s trustees have decided to launch a scratch card game by Littlewoods Lotteries that awards instant prizes of up to $41,250 to raise money for the late princess’s favorite charities.

Cards will carry the fund’s logo, but not a picture of the princess, and proceeds will go to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

The trustees had to consider projects that would raise money for the fund and ultimately benefit many charities, said fund spokesman Vanessa Corringham.

``On that basis, the Littlewoods lottery was given the trustees’ full support,″ she said.

The cards will be available starting March 1 in the nation’s 9,000 post offices, as well as local grocery stores, gas stations, newspaper stands and supermarkets.

Nearly half of the cost of the $1.65 ticket will go to prize money, and remaining proceeds will go to the fund and the retailer selling the card.

Sylvia Ingham, chief executive of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Fund, described the game as ``a great initiative.″ But the Asda supermarket chain said it would refuse to stock the cards.

``After speaking to customers and staff, we decided the cards were an inappropriate tribute to the princess,″ said spokeswoman Liz Burgess.

Martin O’Donoghue, a homeless man whom Diana assisted after he was pulled from Serpentine Lake in London’s Hyde Park in 1994, called the scratch cards ``very, very sick.″

O’Donoghue, who now lives near Liverpool, urged others to boycott Littlewoods, which also runs soccer pools.

``Diana was a special person and to bring gambling into her memory is just wrong,″ he said. ``If people want to make a donation to the memorial fund, they can just quietly give some money, like everyone else does, instead of hoping to get something out of it.″

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