Couple named as £161m EuroMillions winners
Friday 15 July 2011
Europe's biggest Lottery winners have been unveiled by Camelot.
Husband and wife Colin and Chris Weir, from Largs in Ayrshire, scooped £161 million in Tuesday's EuroMillions draw.
The winning numbers were 17, 19, 38, 42 and 45, and the Lucky Stars were 9 and 10.
The couple banked the entire jackpot after several rollovers - a total of £161,653,000.
They were unveiled as the winners today at the Macdonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa in Polmont, near Falkirk.
The couple have been married for 30 years and have two children.
Mr Weir, 64, who has worked as a TV cameraman and studio manager for 23 years, said: "When we first realised we had won, it felt like a dream. Everything went into slow motion. But it feels like a good thing; something we should not to be afraid of but for us to enjoy with the children.
"All our lives we have lived within our means and been comfortable. We appreciate that this money brings about a whole new life for us and our family.
"We now have so many new opportunities to explore but we won't rush it. For us, it will be a gradual change with choices to be made."
Mrs Weir, 55, a psychiatric nurse, said the couple were having a normal night in front of the TV on Tuesday evening until she checked the EuroMillions result on Teletext at around midnight.
She said: "We had bought five Lucky Dips, as the jackpot was now so big. I started circling the numbers I had matched but wasn't doing very well. Then on the fifth line, all the circles seemed to join up.
"I had all of them but couldn't believe what I was seeing. I checked them three or four times before going back downstairs to find Colin. He knew immediately by my face and tone that something was up."
"After checking many times together, the news gradually hit us. The Camelot line was closed for the night but we couldn't sleep. We sat up all night and saw dawn come round the next morning.
"We were tickled pink. I even had a glass of white wine, which is something I normally only do at Christmas. It really is unbelievable."
The couple are already thinking about new homes and cars for themselves but are most excited about the travel opportunities they can enjoy.
Mrs Weir went on: "For Colin, holidays have never really appealed with travelling being such a hassle for him but first- class could definitely persuade him.
"We have both always wanted to see the Great Wall of China and Colin would love to stand at the foot of Ayers Rock in Australia.
"We also love art galleries so this gives us the chance to visit those in Paris and in Russia. These are all things we thought we would never see."
The couple have both had several serious health conditions in recent years and have been unable to work.
Mr Weir suffered a leg injury and rheumatoid arthritis.
Mrs Weir's career in nursing spanned 37 years but she stopped three years ago because of poor health. She progressed from being a ward nurse to a clinical nurse manager, specialising in mental health.
Their daughter, Carly, 24, is studying photography at college and their son, Jamie, 22, works in a local call centre.
Mr Weir said: "The kids are very down to earth and we are confident they will remain level-headed. They have some great friends who we know will give them lots of support and of course they have a fantastic chance in life now to follow their dreams and do whatever they want."
The couple have decided to buy homes for their children, while both their son and daughter plan to take their first driving lessons.
Mr Weir is a football fan, following Spanish football at home. Now he hopes to see Barcelona play from the comfort of his own box at the Camp Nou stadium.
He and his wife play the lottery regularly and have played EuroMillions since it started in 2004.
The winning ticket was bought from McColls in Moorburn Road, Largs.
The win will catapult the Weirs into 430th place in this year's Sunday Times Rich List.
They now find themselves not far below David and Victoria Beckham, who have an official fortune of £165 million.
But the couple will be just above the likes of bookmaker Victor Chandler, Airmiles and Nectar card founder Sir Keith Mills, and the Marquess of Bath, all of whom have £161 million.
Former Beatle Ringo Starr is on £150 million and Sir Tom Jones is on £140 million, according to the list.
The massive jackpot was capped at 185 million euro after a series of rollovers made it the largest ever across Europe.
The Weirs have displaced former postal worker Angela Kelly, from East Kilbride, who became Scotland's biggest winner in August 2007 when she scooped a £35,425,411.80 EuroMillions jackpot.
The lucky couple were unveiled to a blaze of flashbulbs at a press conference, where they re-lived their astonishment at winning the huge prize.
After posing for kisses and holding a giant cheque, they settled on a leather sofa to explain how they took the news.
Mrs Weir, who does not drink, said the feeling the win created was so immense that she opened a bottle of wine.
The couple said they were so excited they stayed up throughout the night to share plans and watch the sun come up.
Mrs Weir said: "We just sat up. We were so buzzed. We were so full of adrenalin we couldn't sleep. We couldn't really do anything except sit. We talked to each other about how absolutely amazing this was.
"We were tickled pink with the whole notion of winning so much money. We just couldn't believe it. It was sinking in by inches rather than anything else.
"It got to about four o'clock in the morning, dawn was breaking - we have a great view from our the back end of our house and we could see the sun coming up. It was just magical.
"We still couldn't sleep. We were just full of adrenalin. We even opened a bottle of wine, and I don't drink."
Mrs Weir said they love where they live at the moment but might consider buying a second or third home.
Travel is high on the agenda, with Mr Weir saying he would love to visit Ayers Rock (Uluru) in Australia, as well as Cambodia and Thailand.
Mrs Weir said: "There are things we are passionate about but we need to temper that with looking at what is the best way to do the most good. We need to do that in a measured, planned way. It would be very easy to throw money at people.
"I worked in the public sector all my life and I know what distress people have. I want to do things in a way where the benefit goes to people who really need it."
She added: "We are not afraid of this. It seems mammoth. It seems absolutely fantastical. I woke up on Tuesday morning and everything was ordinary. I woke up on Wednesday and the world was totally different for us.
"But we, at the same time, we're not scared of it. It's going to be fantastic and it's going to be so much fun."
Mrs Weir added that they would have preferred not to go public but did not think they could keep their win secret.
She said: "We are not flashy people. We are not celebrities and we hope that once we have shared our good news we will get some time to go back to being us."
Mr Weir echoed his wife's comments about wanting to do some good with the money, saying: "With wealth comes great responsibility."
The couple described the "normal life" they have been living in a three-bedroom detached house with two cars, a son and a daughter.
Asked how their children's lives might change, Mrs Weir said her photography student daughter "most certainly will be continuing with her studies".
She added: "My son works in a call centre presently but he, I don't think, will have any intentions of carrying on doing that."
Explaining their lifestyle, she said: "We have a detached villa. A three-bedroomed house in Largs. It's a nice wee house."
Mr Weir said he does not plan to swap their two Suzuki cars because they are both still reliable.
But his wife added: "I'll be swapping cars."
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