Some former Woolwich members have made equivalent gains, while flat distributions at the Alliance & Leicester and Northern Rock produced more modest, but nevertheless welcome sums of pounds 4,500 and pounds 2,250.
But the jamboree was not confined to building society customers. A parcel of shares in the insurer Norwich Union, which was also sold last summer, could now be worth around pounds 4,000. Throw in a few hundred quid from the Bristol & West sale, and the serious carpetbagger might have pocketed pounds 31,000 in a little over six months.
And all of this gain could have been protected from tax had the shares been placed in the right kind of personal equity plan. But in many cases they weren't. Many shareholders could soon find themselves facing a 40 per cent tax charge on windfall shares they sold that summer.