Modest millionaires who work, work, work

National Lottery: Half of jackpot winners choose to remain in jobs and save their money rather than go for luxurious lifestyle
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The Independent Online

The National Lottery has created an exclusive new club of cautious millionaires, who have invested two-thirds of their money, limited spending to new cars and houses and not given up the day job.

A survey of the top 200 winners, who have scooped about pounds 150m between them in the first year of the lottery, shows that on average they have invested 51 per cent of their total win, 21 per cent in the bank.

Half have also continued to work for a living, with 17 per cent staying in the jobs they already had, and 33 per cent taking up new positions after paying off all their debts.

Among the new working millionaires is Bob Westland, 57, a sub-postmaster from Alloa in Scotland, who retired yesterday with his wife Anne, a deputy head teacher in a primary school. They hope to buy a local hotel and run it as a family business instead.

"The best thing about winning the lottery is knowing your children will be secure, and even more so your grandchildren, because you wonder what kind of jobs are going to be out there for them in the future," Mr Westland said. "They are going to reap the benefits of this, because at 57, I'm pretty set in my ways. It's great to know that they have that ahead of them. One of my sons drives HGV lorries, and he's already been able to buy his own so he's working for himself now."

So far the Westlands' most expensive purchase is a new car, a BMW, which they intended to buy anyway to replace their Vauxhall Cavalier. They will not move from their five-bedroomed semi-detached home and have no immediate plans for a holiday.

The most popular purchase for winners is a new car, with 68 per cent buying at least one.

Lee Ryan, from Osbaston, in Leicestershire, has proved an unusually extravagant winner opting for a Rolls-Royce, a Bentley, a Ferrari and a Porsche.

Unfortunately Ryan, who won pounds 6.5m, will not be able to drive them for some time. He was given an 18-month prison sentence for handling stolen vehicles before his jackpot win.

Almost half the big winners have bought a house, including Ryan who purchased a pounds 1m farmhouse. A further 11 per cent have bought a home for someone else and 51 per cent have taken a holiday.

According to Camelot, the National Lottery operator, the results do prove a jackpot win is life-transforming. "Today's survey confirms winning the National Lottery is a dream come true," said David Rigg, communications director.

But despite the claim that 100 per cent of winners believed their lives had changed for the better, it has not been plain sailing for all of them.

Although on an average they give 14 per cent of their winnings away, the lottery has highlighted domestic rifts.

Mark Gardiner, a double glazing salesman who won half of the largest jackpot so far, pounds 22.5m, received a claim from his estranged wife for half his fortune. He reportedly paid her pounds 1m on their divorce.

Mr Gardiner also said he had beer poured over him by people calling him a "rich bastard", and said he felt like a prisoner because of his fame.

The three best things about winning the lottery, according to the survey, are financial security, helping family and friends, and the ability to fulfil lifetime ambitions.

When winners are given their cheques, they are immediately advised to spend nothing and go on holiday to let the shock sink in. The most popular destinations are Barbados, the Bahamas and Disneyland.

Perhaps the modest winners so far are Esther Tracey, 24, from Poplar, east London, who won pounds 14m. She bought her parents a Ford Escort, and still lives at home with them. And Mark Lund, 31, who won pounds 5m, made his first purchase a season ticket for his local football team, Third Division Doncaster.

Yet despite their caution winners of the jackpot, which has created 132 millionaires, say their biggest regrets are that they did not win more, and they did not win it sooner.