A MILLIONAIRE who changed the fortunes of a Sheffield charity hopes it could ‘go national’ to be a model for centres across the country.
Simrin Choudhrie gave £100,000 over five years to St Wilfrid’s Centre for the vulnerable and socially excluded after she visited undercover in 2010 as part of the hit TV show Secret Millionaire.
The 30-year-old, who was pregnant during filming, ‘fell in love’ with the charity so much she even named her son Kabir Bhanu Wilfrid Choudhrie.
Now a patron, the interior designer returned to the Queen’s Road centre to kick-start fundraising for a £1.8 million residential facility nearby for its St George’s Day celebrations.
Simrin told The Star: “It’s very exciting, I truly believe this is a great idea but we have a journey ahead of us.
“I don’t think it ends at the residential centre for St Wilfrid’s.
“We’ve been and seen other charities in London and I didn’t think they were a patch on here.
“I think it was Nick Clegg who said this should be a model for society. I agree with that and hopefully some day we can go national and have St Wilfrid’s centres across the country.”
Simrin donated one of the highest figures in the show’s history to St Wilfrid’s, which has opened its own shop and needs £300,000 a year to operate.
She drew a raffle as crowds of patriotic supporters enjoyed entertainment in the centre hall decked with flags and bunting.
And she was deluged with enquiries from people asking how little ‘Wilfrid’ was doing.
Simrin, who said the centre has ‘enriched’ her life, added: “Wilfrid is doing very well, he is 14 months old now and proving a handful!”
Next month high profile guests and MPs will be introduced to the Steel City cause with afternoon tea in the House of Commons on May 14.
But there was another VIP present yesterday - former England and Sheffield United footballer Tony Currie is a supporter.
He said: “Unless you come to the centre you don’t realise how wonderful it is for these people and it makes you want to come back to help as much as you possibly can.”
Plans have been approved for the residential facility, which will be close by on Queen’s Road.
Kevin Bradley - centre director – said: “This is going to be a unique project where up to 50 people will stay in the residential centre for up to two years and during that time they will come to classes at the centre.
“Simrin will help us achieve our dream.”
£1.8m - money needed for St Wilfrid’s residential centre
50 - the number of people who will stay there
£100, 000 - figure donated by Simrin Choudhrie over five years