Bus drivers share £38 million lottery win

Twelve bus drivers from an industrial town in Northamptonshire have taken unexpectedly early retirement after winning a huge Euromillions lottery jackpot. Said one: ‘I’ll never work again!’

Last weekend, the manager of the Corby bus depot in Northamptonshire found himself facing an unusual staffing crisis. Nearly a third of his workforce had phoned in, one after the other, to explain why they would not be turning up for their scheduled shifts. Their excuse? They had won the lottery.

The twelve drivers, who waited until this week to go public with the news of their win, were members of a ‘syndicate’ – pooling their money to buy tickets in the Euromillions lottery, and sharing the winnings. On Friday evening, as he always did, syndicate leader Chris Smith checked the numbers that came up in the live draw against the numbers chosen by the group. Suddenly his partner paused the television and, without a word, handed him a ticket from the pile.

It took long seconds of silence before the astonishing truth sunk in: the bus drivers had won, between them, a huge £38 million jackpot.

As the news spread, the new millionaires gathered at Smith’s house to celebrate, and to discuss what they would each do with their £3,169,553 share. Ally Spencer, 57, thought he and his wife might move from their small flat to a new bungalow in town. John Noakes, 49, planned to swap his Nissan for an Aston Martin.

In the meantime, there was celebrating to do. The drivers enjoyed a taste of the high life with a ‘slap up dinner’, with champagne and caviar. Forty-year-old Charles Connor, who describes himself as ‘a working class lad,’ called the experience ‘quite overwhelming.’ He plans to use his winnings to go back to school and get better at maths.

Other workers at the bus depot seemed not to begrudge the winners their success. One woman, who had dropped out of the winning syndicate six months earlier, was cursing her luck, but others were cheered by the prospect of an upcoming retirement party for their colleague Charles Gillion. ‘Now he's £3m richer it should be a good one,’ said a friend.

Taking it easy

On one thing, at least, the drivers all appear to have agreed: there would be no more working on the buses. Most of them have already resigned from their jobs, and one has promised never to set foot on a bus again, even as a passenger. With millions in the bank, a life of leisure – and at least modest luxury – beckons.

But some students of human nature suspect that early retirement might not be as much fun as it seems. Studies have shown no noticeable increase in happiness among lottery winners in the past. And perhaps, as US president Theodore Roosevelt once said ‘the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.’

You Decide

  1. Would you be happier if you never had to work again?
  2. What, if anything, counts as ‘work worth doing’?

Activities

  1. If you won the lottery, how would you spend your days? Sketch out a post-lottery-winning life-plan.’
  2. How would you feel if twelve of your classmates won three million each but you didn’t? Write a letter to an imagined friend on the occasion of their lottery win.

Some People Say...

“Winning the lottery would solve all my problems.”

What do you think?

Q & A

Wow! I should start buying lottery tickets!
You probably shouldn’t. The chances of getting the jackpot in most lotteries around the world are about 14 million to one. You’re more likely to be killed by a falling meteorite, or to survive a fiery plane crash, than you are to win big. Even with the smaller prizes, the average lottery returns about 50 pence for each pound you put in.
But somebody always wins!
Yes. It’s just incredibly unlikely that someone will be you. Also, there are loads of better ways to gamble a pound. You could invest it in high risk shares, for example, or put it all on one number in roulette. If it came up four times, you would win about £1.5 million. The odds? A comparatively decent two million to one.
Wow. So the lottery is a terrible deal!
Yes. So much so that it has been called ‘a tax on people who can’t do maths’.

Word Watch

Corby
Corby is a medium sized town in the county of Northamptonshire, in England’s Midlands region. During the early 20th Century, the town was a centre of the steel industry, and attracted so many immigrants from other parts of the UK that it earned the nickname ‘Little Scotland’. Since then, however, it has suffered through long periods of decline.
Caviar
Famously associated with luxury and decadence, caviar is a delicacy made from the eggs, or ‘roe’, of the sturgeon fish. The most expensive type, called ‘beluga’, comes from the Caspian Sea, and costs thousands of pounds per kilogramme.
No noticeable increase
In fact, there is evidence that, quite apart from being no more happy, lottery winners are also more likely to go bankrupt than other people, no matter how much money they start off with.
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt became 26th President of the United States in 1901. An incident with a bear during a hunting expedition resulted in his nickname being forever associated with cuddly toys.

Subjects

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