'We've no plans to move, and we have a reliable car already'
Ayrshire couple hit Europe's biggest lottery jackpot – but won't spend, spend, spend
Saturday 16 July 2011
Colin and Christine Weir may not look like the Beckhams, but they're almost as rich as them. The couple, from Largs, in Ayrshire on Scotland's west coast, are millionaires 161 times over after winning the Euromillions jackpot, the largest in Europe.
The flashbulbs went off and the press even cheered a little bit as they took their place on a sofa at a Falkirk hotel in front of a giant wall of lottery logos, making a reluctant decision to "go public" despite their misgivings, and share their remarkable news.
"'Gosh, that's every single one," is how retired psychiatric nurse Christine, 55, described the moment when she realised, checking her numbers on Teletext, that they had won.
Her husband, Colin, a retired TV cameraman, was called upstairs to check. "It felt like a dream," he said. "Everything went into slow motion. It's just unimaginably tremendous. I really can't describe the feeling."
Christine, a former psychiatric nurse, said: "We had bought five lucky dips as the jackpot was 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 from my face and tone that something was up."
Christine had a glass of wine, "which is something I normally only do at Christmas". The couple could not make their claim on the night because the Camelot line was shut. "We didn't go to sleep," said Colin.
They spoke to Camelot at 9am the next morning who confirmed the win. The 24-hour delay will have lost them around £13,000 in interest.
The cash – £161,653,000 to be precise – three and a half million short of David and Victoria's estimated fortune, is life changing, but the couple have no aim to spend it like Beckham.
They won't be leaving home in Largs, a seaside town.
Colin said they would not be changing their cars, two Suzukis, a five-year-old Ignis, and a three-year-old SX4.
But one or two indulgences have already sprung to mind. "I would very much like to buy a box at Barcelona, if there's one available," he said. "It's a great game. I support the two 'thistles' in my life – Largs and Partick." The pair's neighbours described the Lotto winners as "extremely down to earth''. John Cantell, 64, who lives two doors down, said: '"They have lived here since these houses were built 18 years ago. I have known them for about 14 years but haven't spoken to them since the weekend and had no idea they won the money. I am stunned. They are quite quiet and don't often come out of their house. They are extremely down to earth."
The winning couple plan to buy homes for their children, Carly, 24, and Jamie, 22. Carly studies photography at college. Jamie works in a call centre and is now a very eligible bachelor.
What became of the other lucky, lucky people?
Jack Whittaker won the world's largest lottery payout in 2002 aged 55. The successful businessman was already worth over $17m before his win. He pledged 10 per cent of the money to charity. He was sued for bouncing $1.5m of cheques due to his gambling losses.
Angela Kelly won £35m in 2007 but within weeks had become a recluse. She gave up her admin job and sold her house, but moved into a cramped flat with her teenage son, five minutes from her old house. Reports claimed she was driving a second-hand car and eating at McDonald's.
In 2002, Michael Carroll won £9.7m in the National Lottery. Aged just 19 and working as a binman, he enjoyed celebrity status as the self-proclaimed King of Chavs. His fortune was spent on drugs, parties and cars and he was jailed for a public order offence. Last year he was declared bankrupt and became a binman again.
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