“It’s come at just the right time,” says Gillian Bayford of her EuroMillions lottery win, which does beg the question: when is the wrong time to have £148 million land in your bank account?
Mrs Bayford, 40 and her husband Adrian, 41, were announced as the UK’s second biggest ever lottery winners yesterday, but they are evidently not letting their new-found fortune go to their heads.
“This month has been a really tight month to be honest,” said Mrs Bayford, a mother of two. “We went shopping the other day and I had spent some money on the children for some holiday clothes and I actually got home and thought ‘Hmm…I really shouldn’t have spent that.’”
Now of course, the kids can have all the sun hats and flip-flops they desire. They can have Prada flip-flops if they like. With diamonds on. Mum and dad are filthy rich.
The Bayfords, from Haverhill in Suffolk have been catapulted into the country’s top few hundred richest people overnight. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, their wealth now exceeds that of Sir Tom Jones, who has £140, Eric Clapton, who has a measly £130m.
However, if any family is likely to be immune to the potentially poisonous effect of extraordinary wealth, it is the Bayfords. Gillian has worked as a healthcare assistant on the children’s ward at the Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge for the past three years, working night shifts to help her family make ends meet, while her husband co-owns a music shop. The pair described how they only meet “like ships in the night” because of their working hours and admitted that raising two children, aged four and six, in a long recession had been “tough, but no more difficult than any for other couple.”.
“It’s a hard time for a lot of people,” said Mr Bayford, revealing plans to share the win with friends, family and children’s charities. Although Gillian will give up her job at the hospital to spend more time with her family, Adrian said he would be keeping his shop, Suffolk Music Centre, open for business. “A little extra money will really help the shop,” he added.
The jackpot of £148,665,000 had rolled over 14 times before the Bayfords scooped it on Friday night. Mr Bayford recalled how he had been watching, of all films, The Bank Job, on the television, before switching to the news to see that one person had won the EuroMillions. Joking to his wife that he had forgotten to buy a ticket, he then went to check the ticket that he had in fact bought earlier.
Rushing to tell Gillian the good news, Adrian got a scolding from his wife, who was trying to get their son to go to sleep. “I was trying to tell her we had won the lottery and she was telling me to keep the noise down,” he said.
Asked, as all lottery-winners are, if there was such a thing as too much money, Mrs Bayford said “If you are selfish person [there is]. But if you share it around it’s enjoyable – why shouldn’t more people enjoy it.
“We’re quite grounded,” she added. “And our friends and family will help us stay that way. We’ve got money now and we want to share it. We want our children to grow up normally and lead a normal childhood – they are entitled to it.”
Naturally, with £148 million to spend, the couple have been searching the internet for “things we might like to buy.” Gillian is planning to get a new car, an Audi Q7, while Adrian would like to visit the Canadian Rockies by train. The man who sold Mr Bayford his winning ticket summed up the feeling among local people: "It couldn't have happened to a nicer couple," said Sanjay Patel, of Sanjay’s Store in Haverhill.
The couple, who have pledged to carry on living in the town, have asked that their and their children’s privacy is respected. So far the only indication their son and daughter have had of their millionaire status has been a weekend dinner treat at Domino’s Pizza. They will soon, however, be getting a trip to Disneyland.