Charity ‘on top of world’ as six-figure gift changes everything
A SECRET Millionaire from the hit TV show has given a six-figure lifeline - one of the highest in the programme’s history - to a Sheffield charity.
The St Wilfrid’s Centre for the vulnerable and socially excluded is celebrating the “mind-blowing” windfall - after being visited by a wealthy businesswoman posing as an impoverished mum-to-be as part of the emotional Channel 4 show The Secret Millionaire.
Director Kevin Bradley said he was “on top of the world” to discover the young pregnant woman he had taken under his wing was actually Simrin Choudhrie, right, a millionaire interior designer.
Her husband Bhanu, former Asian Entrepreneur of the Year, is the director of investment firm C&C Alpha Group.
After revealing her true identity to Kevin and other regulars at the centre on Queens Road, Simrin pledged the six-figure sum to be donated over the next five years.
And she immediately wrote out an initial cheque to be spent on throwing a huge party for clients and staff to celebrate.
A bowled-over Kevin said: “What she has done for St Wilfrid’s is absolutely mind-blowing.
“When she revealed who she was it just felt surreal - things like that don’t happen in real life, or so you think.
“The money she has pledged will make a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable people in Sheffield.”
Kevin said not only would the funds provide a massive boost to the charity’s work, but the staff and clients had made a friend for life.
“She is such a lovely girl,” Kevin said. “You would never know where she came from - there was nothing pretentious about her.
“She came back to visit us afterwards and straightaway she had her arms around everybody.”
Kevin was contacted last year by a producer from Channel 4 claiming to be making a programme called Mum’s The Word, about young mothers and mums-to-be living in deprived areas.
A phone call from Simrin - who was six months’ pregnant at the time - followed, and a visit to the centre was arranged so she could find out more about volunteering with the project.
Camera crews then followed as she worked in the centre kitchen, crafted clocks in its wood workshop, and attended her first ever football match at Bramall Lane - all while sticking to the story that she was living in a one-bedroom flat in Pitsmoor, waiting for her taxi driver husband Barney to join her from London.
Kevin said the pair became good friends over the few weeks filming took place - although his suspicion was aroused at times when she proved reluctant to answer more detailed questions about what she was doing in Sheffield.
“At different points I did start to think there was something a little mysterious about her,” Kevin said. “But I could never really get to the bottom of it.
“When the time came for her to reveal herself to me I’d convinced myself I was being silly - so I was certainly shocked when she told me she was millionaire!
“She was really upset - crying that she felt like she had been deceitful towards me - and she said she felt bad because she had come to see me as a kind of father figure.
“Everybody was crying when she came out with the news, we just couldn’t believe it. It was a very emotional day.”
Simrin gave birth to a son in February - a little boy she has named Kabir Bhanu Wilfrid Choudhrie.
“That’s how much she loves the place - she wanted to name her son after us!” Kevin said.
“We have made a friend for life in Simrin, and that’s a wonderful thing.”
The Secret Millionaire airs on Channel 4 on Tuesday May 3.