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Britain's biggest lottery winner says jackpot ruined her life

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: Britain's biggest lottery winner says jackpot ruined her life
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Emerging from a cramped flat in the run-down Scottish town of East Kilbride, the dowdy middle-aged woman does not look out of place.

Clutching a handful of plastic carrier bags, she struggles down the street alongside the school-run moms and Asbo kids on their way to the chip shop.

The weather has turned her recently permed hair into a shapeless frizz and her lackluster skin is devoid of make-up. Dressed in old jeans and a baggy top, another empty day unfolds.

Her look is not one which would ordinarily turn heads, but as she walks past, curtains twitch and the children stop and gawk.

For this is Angela Kelly: the Royal Mail worker and single mother who, two months ago, became Britain's biggest ever lottery winner, worth a staggering £35 million (US $72 million).

There's not much to spend your money on in East Kilbride. Lunch will be a burger for one at McDonald's, and later she might treat herself to a manicure at the Marina beauty salon.

Since her win, Angela has gained nearly a stone [14 pounds], lost her boyfriend and — apart from bleak trips to the shopping mall — become a virtual recluse.

Instead of living it up, she is driving a borrowed second-hand car, living like a hermit in a backstreet flat in an area plagued by joyriders, shopping in half-price sales at a retail park, going to drive-through fast-food chains, and living on supermarket ready meals.

An isolated, lonely figure, the moral of her story might be the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for."

It is a far cry indeed from the magical day on August 15 when Angela made front page news after her numbers came up in the Euro Millions triple rollover draw, making her richer than Princes William and Harry and soccer player Wayne Rooney.

Then, she literally could not believe her luck. Financially stretched and worried about her overdrawn checking account, she had bought a £1.50 lucky dip ticket at her local supermarket.

Reading the newspaper during her break at work on Monday morning, she saw that someone had won many millions the previous Friday night, and that the prize remained unclaimed.

She pulled out her ticket. Number after number matched the winning draw. Still unable to comprehend her luck, 40-year-old Angela asked her colleagues at the post office, where she had worked from the age of 16, to check her numbers for her. The odds on her winning were one in 76 million.

"I didn't know what to do at first, I couldn't believe it," she said. "It was only when everyone in the office started cheering that I realized it must have been me who'd won.

"I rang the National Lottery phone line to make my claim, but my hands were shaking so much it was difficult to write my name on the back of the ticket like they asked. I couldn't say anything. I pushed my chair back and put my head between my knees, I was so flabbergasted."

One colleague captured the fateful moment on her mobile phone; another brought a cup of tea to calm her nerves.

Minutes later, Angela's 14-year-old son John telephoned for a chat. With breathtaking understatement, she told him, "I've had a wee win on the lottery."

"Is it a million pounds?" he asked. "No," she replied, "it's 35."

By now, the Camelot machine was cranking into action. Their advisers arrived, collecting Angela from her workplace in a limousine and whisking her away to a secret location: the £250-a-night Airth Castle hotel in Stirlingshire.

There, Camelot's 'fairy godmother' Dot Renshaw prepared her for what lay ahead. Renshaw is head of a team of seven who help big winners cope with their windfall and the ensuing media frenzy. First, she took Angela shopping — but for the down-to-earth Royal Mail employee, designer shops were too daunting.

She confided to Dot, "I look in the window but never go in because I couldn't even afford a scarf in there." Instead, she chose a simple, brown, polka-dot dress from the department store House of Fraser in which to face the cameras.

Happy day: When she found out she had scooped a massive jackpot

Dot, of course, had seen it all before, but felt confident that Angela would cope. "We get some people who are already comfortable financially, or even wealthy, and they tend to absorb the news more easily," she says. "Then you get someone who's been made redundant and is struggling to pay the bills and they're stunned.

"Angela seemed to take it in her stride. But it can take weeks, months or even years for them to fully realize what has happened."

She arranged for Angela to bank her £35,425,412 check (US $72,620,851.42) with a private bank and meet financial advisers — the interest alone on her win each week amounts to £21,000 (US $43,000) after tax, the same figure as her annual salary at the Post Office.

Renshaw also counseled her on the consequences of going public with her win, but Angela was adamant that she wanted to embrace her good fortune openly. As we shall see, this is something she has come to regret.

At a glitzy Press conference hosted by GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips, Angela gushed about the joy her win would bring.

She would buy a new Seat Ibiza, to replace the one she had crashed in May, upgrade her ticket to first class for a planned trip to Canada, and possibly holiday in Hawaii — because it featured in her favorite 1970s television program, the police series Hawaii Five-0.

Never mind that she could afford to buy a Caribbean island outright, she had recently bought a fitted kitchen in the sales, so she wouldn't be moving from her two-bedroom £80,000 former council house until it was installed. Friends and family were high on her list of priorities, and she was thinking of donating to a few charities.

Ominously, she added, "Inside, I am churning up really. I am not that calm. It is so weird — really, really weird — because a £21,000 salary is not a bad wage. It is livable. I have always got by. To know that I have that every week and loads more, I just cannot get my head around it all.

"The most I've ever won before was a bottle of whiskey in the works Christmas raffle and £20 in our [lottery pool]."

The fact that she was not formally separated from her husband, Gerald Kelly, would not cause problems, she said, and with a new boyfriend on the scene and money to burn, life was looking rosy for perhaps the first time since her marriage had broken down eight years earlier.

Her ex would get a share, she vowed, explaining that they had never divorced "because we didn't want to put John through more heartache.

"Gerry is so happy for me and John. I have spoken to him," she said. "He said, 'That's you, you never need to worry about anything again.' He said good luck and well done. I need to sit down and speak to Gerry about what he is looking for. He is not an unreasonable man."

Unguarded in her excitement, Angela then confided to the cameras that she did indeed have a new boyfriend, William 'Billy' Quinn.

He works at the Royal Mail's Springburn sorting office, where Angela was employed as an administrative assistant and her estranged husband is transport manager.

She said, "I have been seeing someone for a while. Things are going great, and we get on really well and have fun. I think he is stressed out at the moment."

Of her son, she said, "He's a handful at times, but he's a really nice wee boy who does as he's told. He isn't the kind of personality to go off the rails because of this."

Caught in the blaze of camera flashes, with her sleek hairdresser hair and professionally applied make-up, this was truly a Cinderella moment — fate had waved its magic wand.

Back home, however, the reality of this cataclysmic win began to set in. Life had not prepared Angela for riches. Born Angela Cunningham, she describes herself as a "£3 burger and pint girl". From a working-class Glasgow home, her father was also a Post Office worker, and her mother a housewife.

A friend says, "She's just a wee lassie from the Glasgow housing estates; she's not cut out for this sort of money."

In the weeks after her win, Angela went back to the post office where she had worked for 24 years to hand over to her successor and say goodbye to colleagues.

She intimated that she was already having trouble adjusting, saying, "The difficult thing for me will be not going in to work every day. I'll miss the adult company. I always liked a gossip and a gab at work."

Most troubling of all, it soon became apparent that her beloved son did not want a new life. He did not want to move from his comprehensive school, nor did he want to leave home and his East Kilbride friends or to abandon his aspirations to become a fireman after his GCSEs.

A source close to the family said, "This has been really difficult for Angela, because she lives for John. Once his wish-list of a PlayStation and various bits of teenage kit had been fulfilled, he wanted to settle back into life with his mates.

"Of course, that's not really possible when you're suddenly the heir to a £35 million fortune. The family are really struggling to cope with the change in their circumstances."

It had been reported that Angela was looking to buy a property in the upmarket village of Thorntonhall, on the outskirts of Glasgow, but this did not come to pass.

Instead, she and John have moved from their house into a modest property nearby, owned by Angela's sister, Patricia. This has enabled John to continue at his school, but has provoked much speculation locally on why they appear unable to embrace their wealth.

The family has indeed found it difficult dealing with the spotlight now fixed on them. A shy person, Angela was unprepared for the attention that comes with a massive lottery win.

She has been besieged by people begging for hand-outs, and received a deluge of hard luck letters asking for help.

Friends — apparently including John's school pals — have leaked stories to the press about their plans, and Kelly has now instructed lawyers to protect her son from intrusion.

Meanwhile, it emerged that Angela's ex-husband has sought security advice over his fears for his son's safety. He has John to stay at weekends at his flat two miles away from Angela's former home, and is concerned that the boy could be a target for extortion attempts and ransom demands as a result of the win.

A colleague said, "He and Angela have had several conversations about it. It's a serious issue. Suddenly, John has gone from being an ordinary kid to the son and heir to one of Britain's richest women.

"Gerry has asked for help from the Royal Mail's security people in Belfast. They have massive experience of dealing with hijack and kidnap."

Then came the difficulties with her boyfriend, Billy. Apparently, the father-of-two has asked his employers for a six-month sabbatical, during which he plans to backpack around the world — without Angela.

The 43-year-old is still living in the flat he moved into in 2004 when he split from wife Janice, and friends say he and Angela are no longer together.

A friend said, "He's keeping a low profile, and it's obvious something has happened between them because he doesn't exactly seem thrilled about the whole thing. In fact, he's never mentioned Angela to colleagues since he came back.

"They were always very close at work, having breakfast and lunch together and traveling to work in the same car, but he's never mentioned how she's getting on. He's told the bosses he wants to take six months to a year off work to do the backpacking trip, but there's no way Angela would be going with him.

"She lives for her son. She's not going to go gallivanting around the world when the lad has got exams coming up. It just goes to show money can't buy love or happiness."

Little wonder, then, that recent pictures of Angela Kelly show her looking unkempt and strained. She apparently spends all day alone, waiting for John to come home from school.

Angela Kelly: 'Unkempt and strained', clutching a bag of groceries despite a £35m lottery win

She often has a budget lunch in a cheap family diner, The Leeburn, where the most expensive item on the menu costs £12.99 — but with her wealth she could pay for celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay to cook her breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Far from the legendary 'spend, spend, spend' mentality of 1960s pools winner Viv Nicholson, the only treat Angela appears to have allowed herself is a £63 (US $130) perm at the local hair salon.

Last week, she answered the door to her sister's flat defensively, and refused to discuss the impact money has had on her life, saying, "How did you know I was here? I don't want to talk to anyone."

Asked if she had split from her boyfriend, she said, "I won't answer any questions about my personal life."

A neighbor said, "The tragedy for Angela is that had she won £50,000, she would have been over the moon — she would have paid off the mortgage, gone on holiday and felt financially secure.

"Winning £35 million has really ruined her life. The pressure is just too huge for her to bear. She's hardly living the dream — she seems to be at a loss as to what to do, and is just adrift. She was perfectly happy before. Now it's as though she's lost her sense of purpose."

Daily Mail

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35 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by JackpotWanna.
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Guest


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January 1, 2000
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Posted: October 25, 2007, 11:21 am - IP Logged

She is living proof why lotterys should allow winners to remain anonymous.

    KyMystikal's avatar - 1457224010054
    Florence, Alabama
    United States
    Member #8658
    November 13, 2004
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    Posted: October 25, 2007, 11:23 am - IP Logged

    I don't think the lottery win really ruined her life. I think going public with the win did.

    I love doubles and remember, it's just a game!!!!!!

      Guest


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      Posted: October 25, 2007, 12:16 pm - IP Logged

      I don't think the lottery win really ruined her life. I think going public with the win did.

      I Agree!

      The lady from the lottery tried to talk her out of going public but she wouldn't listen.

      Nothing left to do now but wash her hands of all that money.I volunteer to take it off her hands!Wink

        justxploring's avatar - villiarna
        Wandering Aimlessly
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        Posted: October 25, 2007, 2:00 pm - IP Logged

        I agree, although here we won't have much of a choice and in FL all names are released, but a person can limit the amount of media exposure she receives.

        Also, if this woman was struggling to pay her bills when she hit, it was indeed a blessing, not a curse.  I realize nothing prepares a person for a major life change like winning millions.  Still, every time I read a story about a lottery winner being miserable, I think of the homeless people who just want shelter from the rain or the single parents who don't know if they can feed their kids 3 good meals a day or the retired people who don't get enough social security to buy prescription medicine.  That's why I don't have any pity for lottery winners who complain that the lottery ruined their lives.  My answer is - if you don't want to win money, then don't play.   

          Avatar
          Los Angeles CA
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          October 16, 2007
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          Posted: October 25, 2007, 2:04 pm - IP Logged

          I don't have any sympathy for this lady. Changes in life happen, wether its the death of family member, divorce, losing a job, or winning millions, you have to learn to cope with changes.

          Personally thats what I think is wrong with this lady, she thinks she can keep the same life she had, and that is just not possible. She needs to accept the changes in her life and move on.

          EXMECHANIC

          "My dollar buys hope, what does yours do?" 

            time*treat's avatar - radar

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            Posted: October 25, 2007, 2:08 pm - IP Logged

            Winning the lottery doesn't ruin your life. The jerks attracted to your winning it ruin your life. The media exaggerate the situation because they've got ad time to sell and ratings to capture. Your safety and comfort befutzed. Wink

              psykomo's avatar - animal shark.jpg

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              May 30, 2004
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              Posted: October 25, 2007, 3:27 pm - IP Logged

              Congrat's^^^^^^^

              Party        "ANGELA"

              DON't dispare<<<<<all your friend's of LOTTERY POST are

              HERE>>>>>>>>>>

              PLEASE>>>>>>>>>>>CHEER-UP^^^^^HAVE "NO" FEAR !!!!!!!!!!

              BECAUSE UR truly an OUT-GOING>>>>>>>"PERSON" !!!!!!!!!!

              SUGGESTON ONLY:

              Please contact Todd @ the LP>>>(roumer) like spice's & merrrrrrr

              & WISE men>>>>>>HE is ready to OPEN his 1st offshore shoppe

              to be located on the MIRACLE MILE in your great country>>>>>>

              before XMAS >>>>>>>>>>2007 !!

              YES<<<<YOU can owne a LOTTERY POST GIFT Shoppe!

              on the MIRACLE MILE and sell a million $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

              "NESSIE's"........Too!!!!!!!

              please cheer-up^

              Jester^^^^^ "GULL" ^

              LOL>>> PartyBig Grin SantaNoelHatJack-in-the-Box

              PSYKOMO 

                Avatar

                Honduras
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                Posted: October 25, 2007, 4:18 pm - IP Logged

                I hope i got this correctly for i wasn't going to read all that entire page...But i think she won 35 million pounds....I don't think 35 million pounds in England is a lot of money....I'll have preferred to move to the States (no not Canada)...I think everything in England is Expensive, same with their currency...Japan is another country too i think.....

                They ought to place a MANDATORY advisory wealth management team to people that win millions in the lottery...Every 2 weeks the winner will go to the bank or where ever and report how is she doing and have a talk with her/his advisory team...And again 35 million pounds is not a lot of money, better to go to the States where 72 million dollars will last you a long way...And england's stock market is not as active as U.S's to invest on...That woman hasn't done nothing wrong...Even i bet 35 million dollars in the States will last you a long time, if you know how to spend it, but not in England...

                she has a nice figure except that her face a little bit too chubby...Never been to England but i see England more expensive than Hollywood...

                 

                 

                "The Truth is Out There"                 from movie "The X-Files"

                  justxploring's avatar - villiarna
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                  Posted: October 25, 2007, 4:33 pm - IP Logged

                  (A) Pumpi, in Japan they use Yen which is entirely different.  It says clearly in the article that she won the equivalent of $72 million American dollars.   How can you believe that's not a lot of money anywhere in the world?  You are being absurd.

                  (B) Making wealth management MANDATORY as you suggest is a violation of privacy and few people would want to play the lottery if they were forced to attend classes on how to spend it.  Like "make sure you give $10 million to the Republican Party."

                  (C) What does her figure and her face have to do with the price of fish & chips?  The article begins by talking about her hairdo.  That is so sexist and totally unrelated to her lottery win. Look through the articles about David Edwards, Jack Whittaker, Brad Whathisface and see if their coifs are discussed. Anyway, if I don't get up and take a shower & fix my hair, it's because I feel lazy, not rich or poor.  If she gained 14 pounds, it's because she went on an eating binge, not because she won the lottery.  I once ran out of bread and put some peanut butter on my bet slip and it was a little too chewy, but very low calorie. I never tried the scratchers.

                    Captain Lotto's avatar - CaptLotto
                    Jefferson City, MO
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                    Posted: October 25, 2007, 4:45 pm - IP Logged

                    The British are especially celebrity crazy and love the tabloids.  They make a hero (or goat) out of any one in the public eye.  It's unfortunate she's not enjoying it, but I think it's more a function of the media IN THE U.K.

                    I think when you do a press conference in the U.S., you get it all out of the way and then you can be a star if you want, or go on living however you want to.  You have the choice of doing press, but the public also deserves to know that someone REALLY won the jackpot. 

                    Captain Lotto

                    "Every day is a good day!"

                      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                      mid-Ohio
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                      Posted: October 25, 2007, 5:38 pm - IP Logged

                      Doesn't sound like her life changed much after she won the money.  She's still living in a cramped flat in the run-down Scottish town of East Kilbride and eating at McDonald.  She quit her job, put on weight and now drives a borrowed second-hand car and is no longer sharing lunches with her former co-worker and boy friend.

                      Winning a lottery didn't ruined her life, it just removed any excuses she had for living a shabby life in a run-down town and eating at McDonald.  Now she probably feel and look foolish continuing to live that way among folks who know she can afford much better.

                       * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                         
                                   Evil Looking       

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                        Posted: October 25, 2007, 6:41 pm - IP Logged

                        Could be that she's just one of those people that  is just naturally miserable...nothing can make them happy.The son probably knows it and thats why he doesn't want to leave his friends.The boyfriend probably knows it and he decided to take some time away from everyone to think things through.The ex-husband-to- be knows it and he ain't falling all over himself to take her back.His attitude is probably:"She could have all the money in the world and I still ain't taking her back!"We all know people like this.Theyr'e the ones that walk around with the black clouds over their heads all the time.

                        Or not.

                          jeffrey's avatar - moon
                          Hamilton, OH
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                          Posted: October 25, 2007, 8:50 pm - IP Logged

                          She needs to live her dreams and go for it. Pull your head out of the sand lady. Wish I would win. Good luck and god bless.Party

                            MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
                            Beautiful Florida
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                            Posted: October 25, 2007, 9:14 pm - IP Logged

                            (A) Pumpi, in Japan they use Yen which is entirely different.  It says clearly in the article that she won the equivalent of $72 million American dollars.   How can you believe that's not a lot of money anywhere in the world?  You are being absurd.

                            (B) Making wealth management MANDATORY as you suggest is a violation of privacy and few people would want to play the lottery if they were forced to attend classes on how to spend it.  Like "make sure you give $10 million to the Republican Party."

                            (C) What does her figure and her face have to do with the price of fish & chips?  The article begins by talking about her hairdo.  That is so sexist and totally unrelated to her lottery win. Look through the articles about David Edwards, Jack Whittaker, Brad Whathisface and see if their coifs are discussed. Anyway, if I don't get up and take a shower & fix my hair, it's because I feel lazy, not rich or poor.  If she gained 14 pounds, it's because she went on an eating binge, not because she won the lottery.  I once ran out of bread and put some peanut butter on my bet slip and it was a little too chewy, but very low calorie. I never tried the scratchers.

                                                                         

                                                                           "  When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty "