Secrets of lottery millionaires

Dec 11, 2006, 11:48 am (9 comments)

After the Big Win

As the 2,000th UK Lottery millionaire pops the champagne, 16 former jackpot winners shared how their money has been spent — and how their lives have changed.


David Copeland, 31, is single and lives in Hereford in a modest two-bedroom Sixties house.

Occupation: Former lab technician.

Won: £1,000,000 on January 4, 2000.

First purchase: On the day I won, I went to the supermarket and bought half a dozen bottles of champagne to share with my friends.

Best buy: A new Seat Leon car, which I love, for around £14,000. I've also had six cruises, which were worth every single penny. When I was a young boy, I used to dream about going on a cruise, and I booked my first one in the summer of 2000, sailing from Majorca to the Canary Islands. It was everything I hoped for and I was hooked. Now I try to go on at least one cruise a year.

Most extravagant: I saw an advertisement in a magazine offering me the chance to buy an acre of the Moon. I treated myself to an acre of Venus and Mars, too — all for £120. I got the deeds, and a certificate and it makes a great talking point at parties. But then you don't have to be a millionaire to do that.

Biggest waste of money: Nothing — I'm just not by nature a big spending person. My money has all been carefully invested, and I spend the same that I did each week when I was a lab technician — old habits die hard. The last thing I bought was actually a tin of baked beans.

What's changed: I left my job and decided to try something new, so I spent a year training to be a driving instructor, and passed the exams. I start work in a few weeks.


Margaret and David Storey live in a four-bedroom 1930s detached house in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Occupation: Margaret, 53, was a craft instructor for adults with learning difficulties, and David, 46, a plumber's mate.

Won: £1,407,070 on October 15, 1998.

First purchase: A couple of days after we won, we bought a £17.99 pair of Barbie trainers for one of our god-daughters. It doesn't sound much now, but we could never have bought such an extravagant gift before the Lottery.

Best buy: I couldn't drive, so I bought myself a set of driving lessons, passed first time in December 1999 and treated myself to a beautiful new Land Rover Freelander. The driving lessons were the best money I've ever spent — I was 46 years old when I passed my test and I can't explain the freedom it has given me. I can go anywhere I want to, when I want to, and feel safe inside my car.

Most extravagant: We've always loved Christmas, and I buy loads of decorations every year. The downstairs of our house looks like a gLotto — we've more than a hundred different lights and decorations.

Biggest waste of money: We decided to buy a caravan to see if we liked it, but we opted for a cheap version, without double glazing or central heating. It was so cold that we just couldn't use it — and we ended up swapping it a year later for a top-of-the-range model.

What's changed: Money was so tight before that we bought jumpers and trousers for Christmas and birthday presents. Now, we can afford to go and buy them when we need them.


Michael Turner and partner Lesley Learad live in a three-bedroom converted barn in Barnsley, South Yorkshire with daughter Emma, 17, and son Sam, 15.

Occupation: Lesley, 43, worked in a chemist shop, Michael, 48, maintained machinery that made blades.

Won: £3,089,944 on April 5, 2003.

First purchase: Lesley says: We didn't actually buy anything for the first eight weeks, because it took so long for everything to sink in. Finally, we went and bought a £30,000 Mitsubishi Shogun for Michael.

Best buy: My dream house — a luxury barn conversion with an oak staircase, open beams, balconies and three-quarters-of-an-acre of garden, which is big enough when you are cutting the grass! It took us two years to find, and we moved in June last year.

Most extravagant: My £28,000 Mini Cooper S. I learned to drive only two years ago, and as soon as I saw this in the showroom, I fell in love. It has leather seats, alloy wheels and a soft top, and I will never swap it for any other car.

Biggest waste of money: This has to be shoes. I buy a lot of shoes and never wear them. I own about 40 pairs in total, but at least a dozen pairs have never been worn. I'll get around to it one day.

What's changed: Our friends were all thrilled for us, but a few people did mutter that we should give them some money. Apart from that, we've given up work, and we both run around helping other members of the family. I go to the gym regularly, and my body is far fitter — I've gone from a size 12 to a dress size eight.


Meredith Davis, 35, lives with girlfriend Kate Chester, also 35, in a 104-acre farm in Llansawel, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire.

Occupation: Former agricultural engineer — he still works. Kate was a carer for the elderly.

Won: £2,069,730 on October 26, 2004.

First purchase: He says: A Mitsubishi for my girlfriend, which cost around £21,000. I didn't even check my ticket for over a week, so it took me nine days to claim it. I bought the car the weekend after we collected the money, and I was so unused to paying such huge amounts of money I felt physically sick. I still find it hard — I bought myself a new 4x4 the other day, and I felt clammy and shaky, thinking 'How can I afford this?'

Best buy: Our farm. It has three bedrooms, a summer house with a sauna, and we've just converted a holiday cottage in the grounds. We own 18 horses ourselves, and we intend to do holiday lets for horsey holidays.

Most extravagant: An Aston Martin, which isn't far off £100,000. It is everyone's dream car, and I thought 'You are longer dead than you are alive.' I also treated myself to a new £30,000 tractor, which I use every day.

Biggest waste of money: I bought a new Land Rover Discovery 3 for £40,000, with all the lovely kit. I thought I would love it, but I was so disappointed. I didn't like the way it drove on the motorway in high winds when the tyres were slightly down, so I swapped it just under a year later.

What's changed: I still work as an engineer, but before I couldn't choose my customers, and now I can. I have a business called Euroquads selling quads bikes, we have a stud horse at our farm and I want to start building development business. I've always had the work ethic and I can't imagine sitting down and watching the TV. But I still play the Lottery — and I won a few pound the other day.


Sarah ings, 23, lives in a four-bedroom home in Morpeth, Northumberland with parents Ian and Maria and younger sister Alex, 19.

Occupation: She was studying social work at Northumbria University, but is taking time out from her course.

Won: £3,045,705 on April 30, 2005.

First purchase: A Swarovski crystal watch. I had always longed for one, and as soon as I won I knew that was what I wanted to buy myself. I didn't actually touch my money for a week, because I was so in shock — and I still have to pay off my student loan.

Best buy: I bought a four-bedroom house to share with Mum, Dad and Alex. I bought another house for my older sister Emma, 24, who lives in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear.

Most extravagant: My sisters were both going to take out loans for breast enlargements, so I paid £5,000 for them to go to Harley Street for the surgery. Emma needed the confidence boost — she was really slim and had no cleavage left after breastfeeding her son. Meanwhile Alex is a size 12 but didn't have the breasts to match her figure. Emma went from a 30a to a 30c, while Alex went from a 34b to a 34dd. I didn't go for surgery myself as I've always been happy with the size of my breasts.

Biggest waste of money: I have a cupboard full of clothes which I haven't even tried on yet. Mum keeps nagging me to take them back. At the moment, I've four boxes of ironing but she's refusing to do it. I bought a corset from Kookai for £100 and wore it once about a year ago, but I haven't got around to taking it to the dry cleaners yet.


John and Margaret Radford live in a £350,000 three-bedroom detached bungalow in Kingswinford, Wolverhampton, with daughter Lisa, 32.

Occupation: John, 62, retired as a bricklayer on the day he won the Lottery. Margaret, 52, worked as a school cleaner.

Won: £5,438,971 on May 6, 2003.

First purchase: A £32,000 top-of-the-range Isuzu Trooper. A week after we won, I went to the local showroom, where I had bought a couple of cars in the past. I said 'I'll have the top-of-the-range one,' and asked them about the extras. As they listed them, I said 'I'll have that, I'll have that, and I'll have that.' One owner said 'You haven't won the Lottery, have you?' and when I said yes, he had to sit down. He nearly passed out with the shock.

Best buy: Our bungalow. We won in May, and I bought this bungalow in July. We had to wait for building to finish, and moved in December 2003. We ordered the best carpets and curtains that money can buy, and electric gates at the front. I was offered the chance to buy the land at the back of our garden, but then I realised I'd only have to cut the grass and maintain it, so I didn't.

Most extravagant: Our beautiful Pioneer television. It cost £5,000 and has a screen so wide that we joke people down the road can see what's on.

Biggest waste of money: A boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads, about 18 months ago. I paid about £2,500 for four of us to spend a fortnight on the boat, but we were just sailing up and down mindlessly. We also had to empty the sewage, and I thought 'I don't want to have to do that with my sort of money,' so we just left.

What's changed: I used to work hard in the building trade, and come home after a good week to find that the washing machine had broken, and it would take all my money to get it fixed. Now, if the washing machine breaks, we just look at each other and say 'Let's get another one.'


Gaynor and David Funnell live in a five-bedroom converted barn in Eastbourne, East Sussex, with their three daughters aged 18, 17 and 15.

Occupation: David, 42, was a bricklayer and Gaynor, 44, still works part-time as a physiotherapist.

Won: Half share of £3,614,454 on June18, 2002.

First purchase: Gaynor says: Just before we won, I had seen a beautiful pink silk suit from Monsoon which was more than £100 and far too expensive for me to buy. Three days after we won, I took the girls shopping and saw the suit again. But old habits die hard, and I rang Dave and said 'Can I buy it?'

Best buy: Hector, my horse. I've always wanted to learn to ride, but I could never afford lessons, let alone a horse. Now Dave and I have bought a horse each, and we go riding together at least twice a week.

Most extravagant: We bought a house with four acres attached — and then 'treated' ourselves to another 57 acres down the road. So far, we have 250 sheep, 25 chickens, four dogs and two horses.

Biggest waste of money: The week before we won, I had gone to the bank to ask for a loan to buy a new car. After the win, we went to our local Mercedes dealers and treated ourselves to two Mercedes M Class cars at around £35,000 each. I liked mine, but Dave's was utterly wrong for him. Six months later, he swapped it for a Ford Ranger, which was much more him.

What's changed: We used to live in a three bedroom semi, with a small vegetable plot and an allotment, but we always dreamed of being self-sufficient. Now, we're well on the way, and we eat our sheep, get eggs and grow all our own veg. We call ourselves Tom and Barbara from The Good Life!


John and Sharon Hall live in a £400,000 five-bedroom-house with heated swimming-pool in Waterlooville, Hants with their two young children.

Occupation: Sharon, 39, retired from the Navy last week after serving 22 years as a master at arms. John, 43, worked in the glass fibre industry, and is now a house husband.

Won: £1,000,000 on May 20, 2004.

First purchase: Sharon says: We went for a Chinese meal in Portsmouth with John's mum and dad. Then we went out and bought a Jaguar.

Best buy: A full-size snooker table which cost £1,400 second-hand. We turned the garage into a games room to accommodate it, and the whole family loves it.

Most extravagant: It was our tenth wedding anniversary the year we won, so Mum stayed with the children and John and I flew to New York for a three-day shopping trip, toasting ourselves with champagne on the flight.

Biggest waste of money: As we prepared to fly, I realised that I needed a bag just to put things into. We dashed into a shop, and I picked the first bag that I saw, thinking 'This will do.' When I got to the till, it was £125, but I had to pay up. I still use it every day — but that's a huge amount of money to pay on a bag you don't particularly like.

What's changed: Before the win we lived in Navy married quarters, and we didn't even own a home. Winning has meant that our children will always have a roof over their head. Paul has been able to spend far more time with the children, at home. But I will miss the Navy terribly — it has been like a family.


Malcolm Wilkins, 46, lives in a £1m mansion near Margate, Kent with girlfriend Celia.

Occupation: Worked for local council.

Won: £10,166,103 on January 21, 2002.

First purchase: When I won, I thought 'family comes first,' so I bought my brother Chris his dream car, a 4x4 Mitsubishi.

Best buy: My ultimate car has always been an Aston Martin. I put my name down on a waiting list, but then popped into a garage on a whim and saw a mercury silver one sitting in the showroom. It was love at first sight. I've also got a 4x4 and a Mercedes SL. It's a great feeling to step outside and decide which car to drive each day.

Most extravagant: I've been on 17 world cruises so far. Before the Lottery win, I had only ever been to France. So I just wanted to see the world. I call 2003 my 'cruise year' because I went on eight cruises alone.

Biggest waste of money: A camera which I bought last year but never used. It's still sitting in the drawer.

What's changed: Everything, but the most important thing was meeting my partner Celia, and moving in together. I met her since the Lottery and we're so happy. All the money in the world can't buy you love.


Thea and Paul Bristow live in Torquay, Devon. They have three children, Tricia, 32, Alan, 29, and Greg, 24, and recently bought a five-bed farmhouse nestling in 200 acres.

Occupation: Thea, 52, worked a in souvenir factory making badges and key-rings, Paul, 53, was a house husband.

Won: £15,000,000 on July 27, 2004.

First purchase: Thea says: I had always longed for a food mixer, but I could never justify the expense. Within days of winning, I bought a Kenwood food mixer for £200 — and we're still using it.

Best buy: My new teeth. I had some nasty gaps before which made me feel so self conscious, and my roots were giving me hell. I paid for an operation to have five taken out, and proper plates made. Now, I can smile without the gaps and that feels wonderful.

Most extravagant: We took 89 Cub Scouts and helpers on a privately-hired 737 to Vancouver and British Columbia for a two-week holiday in August 2005. It cost us £500,000 but it was worth every penny. Paul has been a Scout leader for 20 years, and we always promised ourselves that if we ever won the Lottery, we'd take the kids on a holiday of a lifetime.

Biggest waste of money: I bought a cape-style designer coat recently and I doubt I'll ever wear it. I paid over £1,000 for it, because I didn't even bother to look at the price. I thought I was old enough not to be taken in by designer labels.

What's changed: We are furnishing our farm from scratch, to start a bed and breakfast business. We haven't changed, but the way we live our lives has. Neither of us works, and yet we seem to be busier than ever before.


Jean and Mark Fielden live in Todmorden, Lancashire. They have two children David, 43, and Michaela, 41, and four grandchildren. They have lived in the same house since 1972, but have extended it from a two bed-semi into five beds and four storeys.

Occupation: Mark, 56, was a textile engineer. Jean, 63, prepared caravans in showrooms.

Won: £1,278,900 on Sept 10, 1998.

First purchase: Mark says: I paid off my children's mortgages, and then strode into my local Land Rover dealership wearing my wellies. I pointed to the Freelander and said cheerily 'I think I'll have one of these, top of the range, please.' They looked at me as if I was silly, but I paid for it there and then by cheque, and their stunned faces were a picture.

Best buy: The extension on our house. We've lived here for 34 years, but I just love the view. Also my poultry shed, which measures 15m by 6m and will be a lovely haven for my chickens and geese.

Most extravagant: I bought the field next to the school that I went to in 1957. I used to walk past this field 50 years ago, admiring the view, never dreaming that one day it would be mine. I keep my hens, chicken and geese there.

Biggest waste of money: We had a 57ft narrow boat built especially for us, with top-of-the-range fittings, a beautiful fitted bedroom and wonderful kitchen. But we live in the Pennines, and it took for ever to get anywhere with all those locks. We sold her after two years, and it still sails on the canal. It is called Lucky Dip.

What's changed: Little. We are still the same people we always were. Some people ask 'Why don't you have a big house built?' but if we moved, we'd only have to find new neighbours and friends. So we're staying here and we're as happy as pigs in muck.


Nicola Otterburn, 35, lives in Helmsley, North Yorkshire.

Occupation: She was a fitness instructor.

Won: £2,216,029 on November 26, 2001.

First purchase: On the week before my win, I had been so hard-up I was living on baked beans on toast. So two days later, I went to my local Marks & Spencer and piled my trolley up with all their mouth-watering ready meals and chocolates — everything I had always wanted to eat but had never been able to afford to. It felt so decadent when I reached the till.

Best buy: My horse, Pippin, a 15ft 2in bay mare costing £1,600, who is my pride and joy. I bought her as a young horse in 2003, and she ended years of heartache. Back in 1993, I was competing in an event with my old horse, and she was blinded by the sun at the last fence.

She fell and broke her neck, while I broke my back. It took me four months to get back on my feet again, but I never recovered from losing my horse — she had been like my child. I gave up riding and got a job in a bank. The Lottery got me riding again — and found me Pippin.

Most extravagant: I've just ordered a bespoke horse box, £40,000, for my two horses. It has a television, satellite navigation, air conditioning and leather interior. There are also mirrors for each horse, so they can be reassured by their own reflection as they travel. It is being built to my exact specification — pure indulgence.

Biggest waste of money: Sometimes I'll spend £500 on a jacket, only to get it home and realise that I don't like it — I was just fooled by the price tag. But the biggest mistake was a beautiful, iron four-poster bed. I'd always dreamed about owning a four-poster, so soon after my win I went and chose one for £1,000.

When it was delivered to my house, it didn't fit — the ceilings were too low. We had to put it in the guest room downstairs, so visitors sleep in a beautiful four-poster with top-of-the range mattress, while I sleep upstairs on a £150 bed from Ikea!

What's changed: I have a horse that I can love again, I'm healthy and I'm free to see my boyfriend and enjoy life. I used to look back at my carefree days as a child and think I'd never know that happiness and freedom again. But now I'm like a child again once more.


Ann and Donald Webster live in a modest three-bedroom bungalow in Derby.

Occupation: Ann, 51, a former mayoress of Derby, still works as a local government officer while Donald, 53, is a design scrutiny engineer for the railway industry.

Won: £1,023,801 on May 8, 2006.

First purchase: Ann says: We already had a holiday booked for Florida, so I upgraded us to first class and paid £3,000 for each of the tickets. But it was the flight from hell. I'm a wheelchair user, and I couldn't get my legs behind the Virgin Airways first class seats, because of their new design. I was black and blue when we landed, and I'll never fly with them again.

Best buy: My husband's Porsche. He owned a second-hand one, but he had always dreamed of having a new one. Soon after the Lottery win he picked one out, choosing the colour of the leather and the paintwork. I love my Tiffany watch, and my son is getting married so we've treated them to the honeymoon.

Most extravagant: I'm on my third choice of outfit for the wedding. I bought one in New York, but I couldn't find a top to match. I found another one but when I got it home it just wasn't right — and because money isn't an issue, I've just chosen a third outfit. I've had four lots of feather headdresses, too.

Biggest waste of money: We haven't wasted money — we're just waiting to find a house to spend it on. It is so frustrating knowing we've got this money, and we are still living in our bungalow, waiting to find a lovely barn conversion to buy.

What's changed: I still can't think like a millionaire. I'm still working because I love my job, and I still find myself walking into sales, looking for a bargain that I could afford. I still have that natural cautiousness — it feels scary to spend the money. It took me ages to persuade Donald to buy some designer clothes — I gave his old outfits to charity.


Stephen Appleby, 49, has two sons aged eight and seven. He lives in a £320,000 four-bedroom house in Louth, Lincolnshire.

Occupation: A former factory machine operator, he resigned 30 seconds after his Lottery win was confirmed.

Won: £3,045,705 on May 3, 2005.

First purchase: Within four weeks I had bought a four-bedroom house for £250,000. it was a wise investment — it is already worth £70,000 more.

Best buy: My 1951 original jukebox from Chicago. It cost £10,000 and it sits in my hallway. I spend my spare time scouring car boot sales for original Sixties singles to go inside. My friends love it — if I charged them each time they played a tune, I'd make a fortune.

Most extravagant: I have a share of two racehorses, and I'm in the process of buying my own which will cost up to £20,000. I'm just choosing which colours my racing silks will be. I go to the local races every fortnight or so.

Last year, I took 25 friends to the races, as a 'thank you' for sticking by me when I divorced. I paid for their transport and a huge buffet meal and it cost £5,000. I also paid to sponsor two races — one was called The Steve Appleby Lottery Winner Handicap Stakes.

Biggest waste of money: One of the racehorses I have a part share in hasn't won a thing. It ran last week and came 12th out of 14. It cost me £1,200 for my shares in the horse, and another £50 a month in stabling costs.

What's changed: My friends say they are glad I haven't changed. I walk everywhere or ride my bike — I've never been interested in driving so I'll never waste money on a car.

Daily Mail

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lucky146's avatarlucky146

thanks for posting...interesting read.

Looks like cars are the big status buy for most winners.

psykomo's avatarpsykomo






Lurk More N00b's avatarLurk More N00b

"We call ourselves Tom and Barbara from The Good Life!"

I love that show! Congrats to all the winners, it certainly sounds like they are having fun.

Here's to hoping that we at Lotterypost may one day get to tell our own winning stories! Sad Cheers

stephi's avatarstephi

A nice nice read. Thank you Sir Todd for posting this.

wizeguy's avatarwizeguy

Great story! Seems all are living happily ever after. Congrats to all the winners!



Nice reading spendings!! THank you!

justxploring's avatarjustxploring

Good article.  Last year I was interviewing for a job at an Aston Martin dealership. While I was in the showroom, I looked at the sticker price on the DB9 and gasped.  People tell me I'd change if I won millions, but I doubt if I'd ever buy a car that expensive. 


Quote: Originally posted by justxploring on Dec 15, 2006

Good article.  Last year I was interviewing for a job at an Aston Martin dealership. While I was in the showroom, I looked at the sticker price on the DB9 and gasped.  People tell me I'd change if I won millions, but I doubt if I'd ever buy a car that expensive. 

I agree about the car ... I tend to be frugal with or without money...

Expensive cars can get you in trouble in a lot of ways. 

Ironically, I just saw a repeat of the Lottery winners show on TLC last night and good ol David Edwards was front and center with his stable of expensive cars and toys..

And where is he now ?



gocart1's avatargocart1

yes it was some nice reading this time of the year....................keep up the great work Todd

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