You've won $75m dollars...
You wake up as a normal person on THAT day, yet a few hours later you are a very rich person, no longer normal, no longer the same, at least in the eyes of the world, for you have won a huge amount of money, more money than some bankers make in a year.... OK that's an exaggeration and a small dig at bankers, it will take most of them five years to make that much!
But what does life hold for these winners, will they fulfil their dreams, will it bring joy or distress?
I decided to take a look, a snapshot of what their lives were and, where possible, what they became.... where possible, because getting rich can lead to serious anonymity setting into your life.
People disappear from the scene!.... I wonder why?
Oh yeah, every blagger in town is after your money!!!
So let's take a meander along those mystical pathways which open when suddenly you become instantly rich and can do whatever you want to....
Steve Smith, scraped a living as a doorman, a bingo caller and hospital porter before his massive £19million win, but it was a mixed blessing, for he had been diagnosed as having an aortic aneurysm, which could kill him at any time.
His greatest wish was for a four bedroomed bungalow near to a hospital.
Steve said: "We have always had a small home. I want a four-bedroom bungalow - it has to be a bungalow because I can't do stairs.
"I am not flash but I want to buy some nice, quality gear because now I can."
He is also planning to swap his motability car for a Range Rover.
Steve said of the win: "It's like the champagne cork popping. It's Christmas every day from now on and I have not believed in Christmas for a long time.
"We can have some comfort. That is the only way it is going to change me. It's not going to change me as a person. I am the same old Steve, the rough old diamond.
So no fear of Steve dropping gifts down poor folks chimneys then, Oh I forgot, he cannot do stairs, so roofs are out of the question..... good job charity begins at home.
After winning £2.8million Michael Antonucci thought he was set for life.
He stopped working as an antiques dealer and started a playboy existence of fast cars, yachts and luxury holidays.
Then he married a topless model almost a third of his age - and bought her £4,500 breast implants.
The marriage lasted just three months.
Within six years Antonucci was sleeping on a air bed in his office, in a Plymouth pub, after a string of disastrous business decisions. He was forced to return to work in the antiques business.
In the end he was arrested and fined for assaulting a shop owner over a small debt that was owed by him to the shop.
He had spent...
- £750,000 on buying a former convent.
- £250,000 on another home.
- £300,000 pounds setting up a failed furniture store.
- £80,000 for two Mercedes convertibles.
- £8,000 on a jet-ski and £30,000 on a 21ft power boat.
- £250,000 on a recording studio.
- £10,000 on holidays.
- £40,000 trying to launch a pop band.
- £25,000 on designer clothes.
His wife Kelly Arkins kept their £350,000 home when they split up.
Obviously money cannot buy happiness, though this lucky winner gave it a good try even if he did manage to do most of the classic errors that one could manage.
Had he invested that money into a secure investment, at that time he could have had over £100,000 per year interest to live from.... such is life!
He was surprisingly short on giving to charity as well!
Whilst you are reading... hear a classic!
Keith and Louise Gough won £9million on the lottery, but after the win, Mr Gough who had worked as a baker, stopped working and started drinking heavily, leading to the break-up of their 25-year-marriage.
When they separated the wife, who bought the winning ticket, gave her husband £1.5million
He checked in to the Priory rehabilitation clinic in Birmingham, was befriended by a conman and lost the lot.
What is becoming obvious is that most of these winners have no natural aptitude to handle these sums of money, and that either the lottery company does not advise them, or more probably they do not listen to the advice.
It is also interesting to note that in the separation and divorce, the wife gave the husband 15% of the cash, rather than the 50% that he would have been entitled to.
So obviously our Keith was and hopefully is a nice guy who walked away from it all rather than start a fight over money. I wish him well.
Abraham Shakespeare, a 43-year-old truck driver, won a $31 million Florida lottery prize in 2006.
He was challenged in court by a former workmate who claimed that Shakespear had stolen the winning ticket from his wallet, but he won that case.
So obviously money does not make or buy friends!
He went missing in April 2009, but the family did not report him absent until November, and nobody thought that to be unusual as the investigating Sheriff stated, when a body was found; "We had hoped to find Shakespeare alive, and that he truly had just wanted to hide from those who were asking him for money’.
He added: ‘As our investigation continued, the information we developed led us to believe he may very well have ended up with an untimely death.’...and he had.... buried in concrete.
So money can be a dangerous experience, and indeed one Sicilian winner demanded total anonymity when they won £79 million, fearing quite rightly that it would make them a target for the Mafia, and clearly when you win, you become a target for any number of people, good willed and bad intented, who want to get a share of your winnings.
The so called 'Magnificent Seven' were all co workers at a major corporation when their number came up...
Syndicate leader John Walsh said: 'I couldn't sleep on Sunday morning so ended up checking the numbers on Teletext at 3am.
'I couldn't believe it when all our numbers came up. I had to wake up my wife, son and daughter so they could double check I wasn't dreaming.
Mr Walsh said he left the winning ticket in his desk drawer at work so went in on Sunday morning to make sure it was still there and then called the rest of the syndicate to tell them the good news.
He said: 'I didn't quite get the response I expected because, with the economy in the state that it is in, everyone has been worried about jobs, so they all thought I was calling them to tell they had been made redundant.
'But thankfully I got to tell them some good news instead.'
Sean Connor, who is unmarried and has no children, said: 'When I saw John was calling me on a Sunday I really feared the worst and thought it must be to tell me we had been made redundant.
'Instead he told me we had won the lottery. I couldn't believe it. It has always been my dream to travel to South America so I'm planning a trip there as soon as possible.
'I am also hoping to get a box at Goodison Park so I can watch the mighty Blues in style.'
The news was perfect timing for John Walsh and his wife, Margaret, who had been made redundant from her job in January.
He added: 'It wasn't a great start to the year but it is certainly looking up for 2010. We are now looking forward to a fabulous Christmas, hopefully starting with a family trip to New York, which is one of our favourite places, for a spot of Christmas shopping.'
James Bennett, who is married to Vicky, and has two sons, aged six and six months.
He said: 'I honestly can't remember how I felt when I heard the news that we had won. It is a complete blank.
'I have never owned a house and always rented so our first priority is to buy our own place.
'We have already been searching on the internet and it is the most amazing feeling to be able to click the button which says 'No maximum price'.
'It is hard to believe that these dream homes we are looking at are now in our price range.
'The best thing is knowing I can now support my children for the rest of their lives - there is simply no better feeling than that.'
Emma Cartwright said she had not slept or eaten since she found out the news.
She said: 'My dad, Barry, was made redundant from his job earlier this year so this couldn't have come at a better time for us.
'I'll be helping out my family and also paying off my mortgage.
'It is just the best early Christmas present I could have hoped for.'
Ceri Scullion is married to Nathan, 41, and has two teenage sons.
She said: 'My mother passed away earlier this year and she loved to do the lottery so I am convinced she had something to do with me winning.
'It is very sad that I can't share this with her but I know she would have been so happy for me and the family.
'I know that my dad is very proud and I will make sure that Nathan's family want for nothing.
'I was in the beautician's having a manicure when John called me with the news. The whole salon was jumping around celebrating with me, it was amazing.
'The salon owner called me up afterwards and asked if I wanted to buy her business from her.
'I'm not sure if that is exactly what I had in mind for my winnings.
'Instead I think I'll buy a nice holiday in Menorca and maybe even a BMW.'
Ceri said she planned to make a donation to Alder Hey Children's Hospital where both her sons had been treated when they were younger, including Jake who had a hole in the heart when he was five.
She said: 'I want to give money to Alder Hey because they have been very good to my children - both had medical issues.
'They do deserve a minibus or something because without them my sons wouldn't be here.'
Donna Rhodes, lives with her partner David, 38, and their two teenage children.
She said: 'I didn't have any holidays left and was due to work all over Christmas but I won't have to any more - instead I can hand in my notice.
'My mother Gladys is in her 70s and is the sole carer for my brother who suffers from MS, so we are hoping to buy a big house so they can come to live with us and we can help look after him as well.
'We'd also love a little holiday home in Malta.'
It's too soon to know how these winners will fare yet, but I wish them well and it seems that this happy bunch all want to help those who need help.
Maybe in a while we'll take a look at them again, if they can be found!
So what would I do if I won that amount of cash?
....and what would you do?
More about lottery winners...
- Daily Mail, Lottery winners...
If you want to check out more lottery winners, here are links to 383 of them...
I would have no problem deciding what to do, for if I had won the lottery I would know it was from God.... why?.... well mostly because I don't buy the tickets!
But let's assume that one morning I awaken with a series of numbers emblazoned upon my mind and the words 'buy a ticket' ringing in my ears, then I would obviously win... one ticket, one win, that's how God does things. I have bought lottery tickets on occasion, but not with the intent of winning or expecting that the lottery will be my salvation, simply because it felt right in the obscure town I would normally be in when I saw a lottery seller.
In Spain lottery tickets are sold in booths or in the street by official vendors, all of whom (currently) work for O.N.C.E which is the official organisation for the blind and disabled folk.
So they get a decent living from it, and the state earns a fortune from the sales tax, and a few folk get really rich every week.
The Euro-weekly lottery will often 'roll-over' and can reach astounding heights of cash to win, meaning that on THOSE weeks there can be queues outside the lottery booths to get a ticket.
Anyhow, let's say that last Friday I awoke with those numbers.... here is what I would do.
- 10% would be set aside immediately for charitable donations, which as a Christian would probably be mostly to Christian charities.
- 10% would be put into a current account to take care of 'things'.... I have always had what I call a 'ritual blood letting' whenever I have been blessed with a large sum of money, and I have been blessed that way a few times in this life! - it helps to set aside a rabbit patch that you can feel free to spend on whatever you want without fear of feeling bad.
- 80% would go on long term deposit, wherever I could get the highest annual return.
The income from these deposits would be used to help wherever we saw need or a deserving situation, and I would 'employ' my friends and brothers and sisters in Christ to be the eyes and ears of this operation, as well as setting up a website where people could present cases that merited assistance.
Now I have 'friends and brothers and sisters in Christ' all over the world, so it would be a widespread search for good causes!
Most of the help would be small, by comparison, but significant where it was applied.
You see I think spending your time helping others to achieve what has been frustrated in their lives is about the most satisfying thing you could hope to do, and in fact we have in part got that satisfaction in our daily lives anyway, but it would sure be a whole lot easier and reach a lot more folk if we had those millions to put to work.
Money cannot buy you happiness, but it can buy other people happiness, and that will at least raise a smile on your face and a feeling of contentment as you go about your daily 'work'.
Besides, spending it all on yourself seems like a dangerous thing to do!