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Lucky savers head for the sun

The cold winter weather could well lead to many Halifax members deciding to spend their windfall on lapping up some sun this summer.

"In January I'm feeling in the doldrums. If I'm sensible I'll take a holiday," said Lily Armitage, a secretary from Bexleyheath and Halifax member.

But it could be a close call. "We'll probably spend it on our home. We have a very old Victorian home," she said.

Kay Hamilton, who works as a secretarial assistant in the chairman's office at Halifax in London, intends to cash in some of her shares to take herself and her two grown-up sons on holiday in the summer.

"I'll keep the shares from the employee scheme, though," the 47-year- old divorcee said. Ms Hamilton, who lives in Putney, is a self-confessed carpetbagger and will get free shares from the forthcoming Woolwich and Alliance & Leicester flotations.

Other Halifax members, such as Elaine Arter, 45, of Hornchurch, intend to hold on to their shares. "We don't need the money right now," she said. However, she thought her two adult children were more likely to spend the proceeds of their shares.

Tracey Pollard, 26, from Leyton, will keep her shares, as will Russell Watling, a 36-year-old software development manager from Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire. "I'll keep them. It's probably a good thing to have shares in the banking sector," Mr Watling said.

However, he had some reservations about the flotation. "Building society borrowers and savers will lose out in the long term," he said.

Jeremy Brazil, a 34-year-old insurance underwriter from Reading, has a mortgage with Halifax but took it out too late to receive free shares. He is eligible for the Woolwich payout, however. "We've just moved house. It cost an arm and a leg and we'll use it for a holiday," said Mr Brazil, who is married with a son.