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The trouble with being a lottery winner

Wed 28 Sep 2016, By Patty Reynolds
The trouble with being a lottery winner

Yes, even the big lottery winners have problems. But they’re the kind of problems that most of us would love to have. Deciding which luxury car to use to go to the mall and shop up a storm is one example. So that’s what the National Lottery decided to focus on in their latest advertising campaign.

Entitled ‘Nicer Problems to Have’, the campaign started off with a stunt using Sharon and Nigel Mather. The couple won £12 400 000 in the EuroMillions lottery in 2011.

They went on a shopping spree at Trafford Centre in true millionaire style. But instead of taking the Bentley, they opted for a helicopter as their mode of transport. They were welcomed to the centre with red carpet, their own security staff and a butler with tray of champagne for good measure.

So what could the problem be? Well, if you’ve never gone shopping with a helicopter before, you wouldn’t know. It seems that the AS355 Twin Squirrel helicopter has a terribly small boot. And that meant Sharon and Nigel couldn’t fit all their shopping in the chopper. After 15 minutes they had to concede defeat and rely on the old Bentley to take a giant teddy, a brand new TV, jewellery, shoes and clothes home for them.

Sharon and Nigel have done rather well for themselves after discovering their big win while on holiday in Minehead. They’d matched all five main numbers and the two Lucky Star numbers to win the EuroMillions jackpot prize. Since then they have splashed out on some luxury vehicles, including the Bentley with its impressive boot space. They also purchased a new house and race horses and taken some exotic holidays.

In the six years since they won the jackpot they’ve also set up a music room at Francis House Children’s Hospice in Didsbury in memory of Nigel’s niece Shadia, who died aged 18 in 2005 after a three-year battle against bone cancer. So it appears that they have managed to strike a good balance and used their winnings very wisely.

Although the stunt was all done for a bit of fun, it does make you wonder what kind of problems big lottery winners face. Not everyone wants to be the centre of attention and it can be difficult to cope with the glare of the media. It’s no surprise that many lottery winners prefer to remain anonymous, but this isn’t always possible. Many lottery winners worry about the unwanted attention they’ll get from friends and relatives looking for handouts. It’s very difficult to say no to people who are looking to you for financial assistance. You may even feel a bit guilty for being lucky enough to pick the winning lotto numbers.

And that’s why many experts recommend that if you want to give money to charity, you set up a trust or foundation to cope with the requests. It’s also better to donate smaller amounts to charities throughout the year. While handing over a large cheque can make you feel good about yourself, you have no control over how the money is spent.

There have been many US Powerball jackpot winners who use their money to give back to their local community. A good example of this is Mark Hill who recently unveiled a new fire station for his hometown. Mark and his family have been involved in several civic projects for their hometown in Missouri. Not only did Mark donate a sizeable amount of money to the project, he also assisted with his time and expertise.

Chris and Colin Weir of Scotland are the biggest EuroMillions winners in history. After winning the €185 000 000 jackpot, they went on to establish the Weir Trust. They support local projects with a focus on sport and animal charities. Since they won the jackpot in 2011, their charity has provided funds for hundreds of charities across Scotland.

For every story that you hear about big lottery winners who have squandered their fortune, there’s a story about a big-hearted winner who has used their winnings to uplift their community and change the lives of the less fortunate. And even those winners that don’t make the headlines donate to their local charities as much as they can.

We all wish we had the kinds of problems these multi-millionaires do, but they are ordinary people, and many of them are very down to earth. You can be sure that Sharon and Mark bought a few lottery tickets for the upcoming EuroMillions draw during their big shopping spree. So why not follow their example? And then you could be the one struggling to get all your groceries into the boot of an AS355 Twin Squirrel helicopter.