A stunning collection of photos showing how lottery winners have splashed their cash will be shown in a new exhibition detailing the weird and wonderful purchases of the newly made millionaires to mark the 25th Birthday of The National Lottery.
The exhibition showcases the inspiring, obscure and heartfelt stories behind what jackpot and big prize winners have done with their millions.
It will detail 25 individual photographs of winners and aims to tell their individual stories and paint a picture of their fascinating lives – from building a pool at a local MS centre to becoming a champion dog breeder.
Some couples have built their dream homes in St. Lucia, others have created a £20,000 field for their dogs or enjoyed a football-themed garden.
Andy Carter, Senior Winners’ Advisor at The National Lottery said, ‘It is always wonderful to hear about the truly amazing things that National Lottery winners do with their money.
‘This exhibition is a fantastic showcase of wacky and obscure hobbies, to the generous, heartfelt and even surprising stories that winning The National Lottery has enabled some of our 5,500 millionaires to have.’
The first National Lottery draw was on November 19th, 1994. Over the last 25 years, 5,500 millionaires have been created from The National Lottery and over £71 billion in prizes has been given out.
In total, £40 billion has now been raised for good causes and more than 565,000 individual grants have been made across the UK, which is an average of 200 lottery grants in every UK postcode district.
Each week, around £30 million is generated for good causes. The photos are being displayed at the historic Fulham Palace. In total, £9million of money raised by National Lottery players has been invested in Fulham Palace and the surrounding Bishop’s Park. Here FEMAIL reveal what some of the winners did with their money.
Neil Trotter, 46, from Edenbridge Kent won £107,932,603.20 on EuroMillions in March 2014. He lives with partner Nicola in Edenbridge, Kent and now goes racing
Neil Trotter: I took up my dream of racing when I won the lottery
Neil Trotter, 46, won £107,932,603.20 on EuroMillions in March 2014. He lives with partner Nicola in Edenbridge, Kent.
He said: ‘I had always loved racing, but I gave up and sold my car before I won the Lottery. It had been my real love from the age of 14, but I just couldn’t afford it anymore.
‘Years later, I went back to the place I used to race, and man there said “Out of the thousands of people who didn’t make it, I always thought you would succeed.”
‘That hurt – but the Lottery win helped soften the blow. It allowed me to go back to racing with UK Motorsport.
‘I race a £60,000 Mini and it’s not uneventful. I rolled a car just a few weeks ago at 80mph and it caused £30,000 worth of damage. But I’m enjoying myself despite being one of the oldest in the championship, and I’m racing alongside a team of friends I’ve known for years. The thrill is back’.
David Stickley: I became a model airplane enthusiast after winning £21million
David Stickley, 58, lives in Buckinghamshire with wife Donna, 48. He won £21,044,592 on Lotto on 12 May 2018.
He said: ‘Almost exactly a year after our win, I had a heart attack. Talk about a change in fortunes. But it was whilst in hospital, talking with two close friends who were at a model show, they shared a video of a new model plane that they said I ‘needed’.
‘It then struck me at that moment that life really is too short so I asked them to order it straight away. I’ve been spending about four hours a day on my latest model plane in my workshop. I’d rather do that than sit in front of the TV.
‘My dad was a model aircraft enthusiast, and I flew my first plane with him at eight years old, and have been involved in the hobby ever since.
‘I’ve belonged to the same model flying club for 40+ years – I’m their third longest serving member. I own approximately 20 aircraft and 11 helicopters which are ready to fly and have bought two large models since winning the lottery.’
David Stickley, 58, lives in Buckinghamshire with wife Donna, 48. He won £21,044,592 on Lotto on 12 May 2018. After his win, he became a model plane enthusiast
Ann & Don Webster: We built our own accessible home
Ann & Don Webster, won £1,023,801 on Lotto on May 6, 2006. Ann, 64, works as lead on equality and diversity at Derby City Council and lives just outside town with husband Donald, 66.
They said: ‘Shortly after our win, we decided we wanted to build our own, single storey home on a plot of land, to make it fully accessible for me as a wheelchair user.
‘We lived in a converted barn before, but regular power cuts meant the lift often didn’t work, leaving me stranded downstairs with my bed, shower, clothes and make-up upstairs.
‘We didn’t find the perfect land until three years ago, and it’s taken this long for us to buy it, apply for planning permission for our own grand design and for work to begin.
‘Our new timber frame house is due to be ready in Spring 2020 – 14 years in the waiting – but it’s going to mean a whole new wonderful way of life.
Ann & Don Webster, won £1,023,801 on Lotto on May 6, 2006. Ann, 64, works as lead on equality and diversity at Derby City Council and lives just outside town with husband Donald, 66
Elaine & Rob Leason: We dress up as Santa and give out presents
Elaine Leason, 59, from Driffield, East Yorkshire netted a £1.4 million share of a work syndicate in July 2005 – but her best buy remains a £150 Santa suit for husband Rob, 66.
She said: ‘Rob is a big bloke, and our best Lottery buy is a luxury Santa outfit which is massive and fluffy and heavy and which he fills out perfectly.
‘When he steps inside that suit, he isn’t a man dressing as Santa – he really IS Santa. The joy on the faces of local children when they see him is heartwarming. For us, it’s a magic which you can’t see elsewhere.
‘We’ve always been crazy about Christmas, but every year now Rob dresses as Santa in his £150 suit and I don my elf costume as his helper, and we spread just a bit of happiness.
Elaine Leason, 59, from Driffield, East Yorkshire netted a £1.4 million share of a work syndicate in July 2005 – but her best buy remains a £150 Santa suit for husband Rob, 66
Peter Congdon: ‘I build a pool at an MS centre in my wife’s memory’
Peter Congdon, 72, from Truro won £13,538,113 on May 27 2015. He gave £1.2 million plus a brand new Range Rover to fund a hydro pool at a local Multiple Sclerosis centre in memory of his late wife Rosemary who battled the condition for more than 30 years.
He said: ‘I married Rosemary when I was 21 and she was 18, and this December we would have been celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.
‘She was diagnosed with MS in her late twenties, but although she deteriorated each year, her willpower inspired me. I’d work all day, then be Rosemary’s carer in the evenings and although it was exhausting, it bought us closer than ever.
‘She fundraised for the Merlin Centre – for people with MS – but she never lived long enough to see it finished. She died in April 2008 aged only 56, and the first thing I thought when I won the Lottery was “I’m going to help out with the hydro pool.”
‘Rosemary and I used to take collecting tins on the street to help the centre’s 11-year fundraising campaign for the pool – and I know this is exactly what she would have wanted.
‘The pool, to help people with MS, Parkinson’s and stroke sufferers, was opened this summer, and they called it Primrose, after Rosemary’s favourite flower.
‘In the garden outside, they’ve planted primroses – and my wife would have loved that. I have seven cars now, and regularly I act as a chauffeur to take teenagers to the proms.
‘They’re the children of patrons at the centre, and I only ask for a donation to be made to the Merlin Centre, where I’ve just been made president. It’s just as Rosemary would have wanted.
Peter Congdon, 72, from Truro won £13,538,113 on May 27 2015 – and gave £1.2 million plus a brand new Range Rover to fund a hydro pool at a local Multiple Sclerosis centre in memory of his late wife Rosemary who battled the condition for more than 30 years
Michelle Edwards: ‘I became a champion dog breeder’
Michelle Edwards, 51, won £1,925,567 on Lotto in August 2008. She lives in Exeter with husband Ed, 53, and their five dogs.
She said: ‘When I was a child, the highlight of my year would be travelling from our home in Dorset with my mother to see Crufts Dog Show at London’s Earls Court. I remember we’d catch the bus at 4am and I’d literally feel sick with excitement. When we arrived the sight of the dogs, the buzz, sound and the smell was unforgettable. I loved it – and from the age of ten, as I stood by the side of the ring, it’s always been my dream to one day be there with a dog of my own.
‘That childhood daydream finally became a reality this year, when I walked into the ring with Maggie, my beautiful St Bernard by my side.
‘I was a nervous wreck, but Maggie took it all in her stride, and when the judge pointed at us, for second prize, I literally went into shock. To be honest, I’m still in a daze. But it all happened because of the Lottery win.
‘It allowed me to own our beloved St Bernards, and have two litters from Daisy. Maggie was born 18 months ago, one of Daisy’s second litter and I could see immediately that she was really special. She had really even markings and a gorgeous laid-back temperament.
‘To be a breeder of these beautiful dogs, and then to take Maggie to Crufts felt like a dream come true. In my spare time, I trained puppies as assistance dogs, and learned to create specialist cakes.
‘The Lottery has given us freedom to turn our dreams into reality’.
Michelle Edwards, 51, won £1,925,567 on Lotto in August 2008. She lives in Exeter with husband Ed, 53, and their five dogs