Millionaires toast Lottery birthday


Published: Sunday 16th November 2014 by The News Editor

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The National Lottery is celebrating turning 20 this week, and some of the millionaires it has created have raised a glass of bubbly to toast the anniversary.

Winners from the past two decades came together for a glamorous photo shoot and told how the Lottery changed their lives – paying for fast cars, luxury holidays and even breast implants.

Jane Cunningham, 54, from North Yorkshire, scooped £7,544,200 in December 2008 – just after the credit crunch hit.

She said: “When I very first realised in that split second, the first thing I thought of was ‘Oh my God I feel sick’.

“You would think I would be doing cartwheels and screaming from the rooftops. But I had this realisation that oh my God, my life as I know it is over and it is going to start again tomorrow – a totally different life. It is a rollercoaster of emotions.”

The mother-of-seven said she and her husband, TV stuntman Mark, had always “muddled through” but with so many children “it was certainly a struggle”.

Overnight her financial problems were a thing of the past. And after she banked the cheque she splashed out on treats for herself and her family, including breast implants for her 24-year-old daughter.

Mrs Cunningham said: “My most unusual purchase was probably buying my daughter a boob job. She would have been 24 at the time.

“I just thought, ‘Wow, now she can have one’. She likes them, so that’s a good thing.

“I also popped out for coffee once and came back having bought a £1 million farm. I had this mad feeling and I impulse bought it. I don’t know how I did it – that was my biggest impulse buy.”

As well as moving her family from their small end-of-terrace house in Whitby to a farm near York, Mrs Cunningham tied the knot with her long-term fiance shortly after the win, and has also been able to help out local charities and friends.

She says she counts herself lucky she has not been hit by the so-called curse of winning the Lottery – where relationships buckle under the pressures of becoming an overnight millionaire.

Overall, Mrs Cunningham said the most important thing her lucky ticket bought her was “freedom”.

She said: “Freedom, that’s what it has given us, and security for the children.”

Jackie King, 57, won a Lotto jackpot of £14,003,369 in November 1998, becoming the biggest public winner at that time and making front page news.

She said: “My win has given me such security it has meant I can take care of my family and really enjoy life. I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world and have had some fantastic experiences – like going on safari in Zambia.”

Launched in 1994 to great fanfare, millions play the Lottery each week and it has raised more than £20 billion for good causes.

At the time of its launch, however, there were concerns the National Lottery would create a nation of gamblers, and claims it was in effect a stealth tax on Britons who could least afford to pay it.

Matt Myles, 28, won a EuroMillions Millionaire Raffle prize of £1 million in April this year and has used the winnings to go on a round-the-world trip, set up a property development business with his brother, and buy a Porsche.

He said: “I’ve been on a trip of a lifetime. I’ve bungee-jumped in Thailand, played with tigers and fed them in their pens, ridden on elephants through the jungle and skydived in America.

“It has allowed me to do what I want, when I want.”

Camelot, which runs the lottery, says it has now raised £ 32 billion for good causes.

Published: Sunday 16th November 2014 by The News Editor

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