UK player makes history with £170m jackpot win

Richer than: Daniel Craig ( £128m, left), Adele (£150m, centre) and Gareth Bale (£94m, right). © Getty

Does money bring happiness? Or is it a curse? Next week, a record fortune will land in a person’s bank account and their life will be turned upside down. Past winners have an ominous record.

The story starts in Paris, like so many great stories.

Just four-minutes’ walk from the Bois de Boulogne, where British soldiers camped after crushing Napoleon, and a couple of steps from the Azzurro Bistro, where the pizzas are much praised, stands an imposing building overlooking the Seine.

In this building shortly before 8:45pm last Tuesday night, a machine named Stresa whirred into life with rotating paddles spinning in opposite directions.

Tensions were high. The Euromillions jackpot had rolled over 22 consecutive times since 19 July, first reaching the maximum prize fund of £170m on 24 September.

Numbered balls were dropped into the chamber and, finally, five balls rolled out, one by one — numbers 7, 10, 15, 44 and 49.

From another machine named Paquerette, two different balls rolled out — numbers 3 and 12, the Lucky Star numbers.

Seven numbers that changed a life forever. Whose life? We don’t know. They have a right to remain secret. But we do know that they live in the UK.

And, yesterday, the holder of that ticket stepped forward to claim their jackpot.

By doing so they made history.

They became the UK’s biggest-ever winner. They became richer than Adele, richer than Gareth Bale, richer than Daniel Craig. And that’s without having to sing a note, kick a ball or act a single line.

With their winnings, they could afford a fleet of 472 Rolls Royce Phantoms, a car with a starting price of £360,000. Or a tower of 147,954 iPhone 11 ProMaxes, a handset that costs £1,149.

Or, if worried about law and order, they could pay the salary for 8,512 police constables for a year.

The odds against them winning were about 1 in 140m. In other words, they were more likely to be killed by a vending machine (1 in 112m), to become an astronaut (1 in 12m) or become the next president of the USA (1 in 10m).

But they did it anyway.

The previous biggest UK winners were Colin and Chris Weir from Largs in North Ayrshire, Scotland, who won £161 million in July 2011. Soon after winning, they divorced.

Adrian and Gillian Bayford, from Suffolk, won more than £148 million in August 2012. They also divorced soon after winning.

Adrian Bayford lives alone in a Suffolk mansion, eating seven Cornish pasties a day, says The Daily Mirror. “He is being mocked and goaded in the street.”

It raises one of the oldest questions in the world: does money bring happiness?

Gold shoulder

No. Certainly not in itself. True happiness comes from having a strong sense of purpose, being clear on your ideal lifestyle, and making work and spending decisions aligned with that vision. Life is far too short to waste time doing things you don’t enjoy.

But that becomes a lot easier with a nice, fat bank balance. Research suggests that having a higher income certainly affects happiness, even if only up to a point. Whatever that point is for you (one study put this at £75,000 a year) will depend on your own situation but beyond it, you won’t be significantly happier.

You Decide

  1. How much money would you like to win in a lottery next week?
  2. Is money the root of all evil?

Activities

  1. Imagine you just won £10,000. Make a list of how you would spend it.
  2. You have £10m to set up a charitable foundation. All funds must go to good causes. What will you support and how? Write up a project plan for your new foundation — including its name.

Some People Say...

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; for loan doth oft lose both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.”

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) from Hamlet, when Polonius give his son advice on money management

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
From the moment you realise you’ve won to actually getting the money, winners are looked after every step of the way by a dedicated team of National Lottery “Winner’s Advisors”. It is their job to support winners through the entire process so they can begin to enjoy their life-changing win.
What do we not know?
What people actually spend their winnings on. The National Lottery says that previous people who have gone public with their wins have chosen to spend their cash on new houses, cars, holidays and on their family and friends. There have been stories of winners, such as one of the UK’s youngest EuroMillions winners Callie Rogers, who lost most of her money very quickly. But “the people who spend the money too quickly are a very, very small percentage”.

Word Watch

Bois de Boulogne
A large public park, formerly a forest, located along the western edge of the 16th “arrondissement” of Paris. There are 20 arrondissements (administrative areas) in the city.
Napoleon
Following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814, 40,000 soldiers of the British and Russian armies camped in the forest. Thousands of trees were cut down for firewood and building shelters.
Azzurro Bistro
“A hidden Italian gem,” says one grateful customer. “My husband had the carbonara pizza and I had the tagliata manzo with rucola and parmesan. Both dishes were very good.”
Seine
The 777 km-long river that runs through Paris, and eventually flows into the English channel at le Havre.
Stresa
Named after a picturesque town in northern Italy.
Paquerette
Named after a type of rose. (It is also is the French word for a wild daisy.)
Adele
She has now sold more than 100m albums, starting with 19 and its follow-up, 21. The most recent, 25, released in 2015, was the fastest-selling album in UK chart history.
Gareth Bale
This year, Wales’s football star got the number-two spot in the ‘Young Sports Star’ Sunday Times Rich List. With a wealth of £94m, Bale weighs in as wealthier than world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (£49m) and Manchester City golden boy Sergio Aguero (£58m).
Daniel Craig
At 51, he is due to flourish his licence to kill again as James Bond next April. He is by far the highest-earning Bond actor, earning a reported £48m for Spectre, which took £652.4m at the box office, on top of his $3m for Casino Royale, $7m for Quantum of Solace and $17m for Skyfall.

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