John Barnes couldn’t be happier that the World is finally back in Motion, writes Will Jennings.
And with this summer’s European Championships just around the corner, the former England ace revelled in a long-overdue return to his old Three Lions ‘happy place’ as lockdown restrictions eased.
Barnes, who racked up 79 caps for England between 1983 and 1995, has taken part in a new National Lottery-commissioned portrait series called ‘Ticket To Your Happy Place'
The innovative series is shot by photographer Tom Oldham and celebrates all the places that make us happy, we love to visit and have missed over the past year.
Football-mad Barnes, who memorably starred as a rapper in New Order’s Italia 90 hit ‘World In Motion’, crowned Wembley Stadium his favourite venue and loved re-emerging under the iconic old Arch.
The 57-year-old, whose portrait has been commissioned to celebrate The National Lottery Open Week (5-13 June) and National Lottery Cinema Weekend, (19-20 June), said: “I’ve had many happy memories here at Wembley.
“One of my first memories was when I was a young boy growing up in Jamaica and watching the 1974 FA Cup Final where Liverpool beat Newcastle.
“Nowadays, I like coming to Wembley by myself as I like to be in my own zone and savour the atmosphere – even though there’s 90,000 other people around me!
“I think what’s amazing about Wembley is that it gives everybody, not just the elite football teams, the feeling of achievement and happiness when they come together.”
Liam Boylan, Wembley Stadium Director, added: “We’re thrilled that John picked Wembley Stadium as his ‘happy place’ and to know that, like so many, he has such a strong affection for our iconic venue.
“National Lottery funding was crucial to the building of Wembley Stadium, and this is our way of saying thank you to everyone who has bought a National Lottery ticket, helped us on our journey and made a vital contribution to supporting good causes.”
The National Lottery Open Week offers special offers and free entry at participating venues between June 5-13, while National Lottery Cinema Weekend (19-20 June) is giving out free cinema tickets at more than 500 cinemas across the UK. All as a thank you for the £30million raised for good causes every week by National Lottery players.
And Oldham’s celebratory series has shined a light on several other ‘happy places’ around the UK, with Welsh swimming stars Daniel Jervis and Xavier Castelli also pictured returning to their favourite venue.
Jervis, a two-time Commonwealth Games medallist, and Castelli say The Wales National Pool is their happy place and both relished reflecting on their memories of the Swansea venue.
Jervis, 24, said: “This is where I won my first gold medal. What I love most about being in the pool is how calm it makes me feel.
“I’ve trained every day since I was a child, so I’ve really missed this place while it’s been closed. I’m really glad to be back under water and back with my friends.”
Fellow high-performance swimmer Castelli, 30, added: “The National Pool here in Swansea is a place we can be ourselves.
“Being in the water makes me feel relaxed and where I feel most comfortable, so I’m really looking forward to competing again with a proper crowd and being in a club environment with my teammates.”
London resident and writer-director Marley Morrison also features as part of Oldham’s series and hailed the BFI Southbank as her ‘happy place.’
Morrison recently premiered her debut feature – Sweetheart – at the Glasgow Film Festival where it scooped the prestigious Audience Award.
And after visiting her beloved BFI Southbank, the 35-year-old said: “I’m at my happiest sitting in the back row at the BFI Southbank watching a great movie with my friends.
“Cinema in general has changed my life in many ways. It has helped me understand myself better and given me an insight into the lives of others. Cinema gives many marginalised people around the world an opportunity to see themselves reflected on screen.”
Photographer Oldham is the creative force behind the ‘Ticket To Your Happy Place’ series, which comes after National Lottery research revealed over eight in ten of us (81 per cent) missed our ‘happy place’ in lockdown.
Over half (57 per cent) of UK adults want to visit their favourite venue at the first opportunity and proud Oldham added: "The greatest privilege of being the photographer for this project has been when I got to hear the stories behind each 'happy place'.
“Whether it was a nature reserve, sports venue, art gallery or cinema - each person had a story, unique to them, about why they chose their happy place.
“I'm heartwarmed that The National Lottery is helping people and establishments with The National Lottery Open Week and Cinema Weekend."
To search for your nearest participating happy place venues and cinemas, where your National Lottery ticket or scratchcard will unlock these special offers, head to http://www.NationalLotteryUnlocked.com