LOTTERY fever was sweeping the country last night as a single UK ticket holder won £166million Euro Millions.
Yesterday in the North West, some of the region’s biggest winners met up for a ‘millionaires’ street party’ to celebrate their personal successes and reflect on how their triumphs have changed them. We went to meet them and ask: How has winning the lottery affected you?
SINCE winning £5million six years ago Deborah Mather has set up her own business and bought a new house.
She has also seen her health improve so much that she is no longer registered disabled.
Mrs Mather, from Clayton-le-Woods near Chorley, had to stop working when, four years before her big win, she was badly injured after falling down a flight of stairs.
And she says she still plays the lottery so she can help good causes.
She said: “My health is now much better and I don’t have to worry about how I will pay the bills.
"They are the main plusses. I still play the lottery. I could make a lot of people happy if I won again.”
She said that her two biggest extravagances since the win were a Swarovski handbag and a pair of Swarovski shoes, both gifts from her son peter at a total cost of £1,000.
To mark five years since her win she completed a skydive encouraged by her son who is a member of the national British skydiving champions Unagi.
FORMER bus driver Kevin Halstead has quit his job and bought his dream house since winning £2.3million in March last year.
But despite his good fortune he admits that he still plays the Lotto regularly, with the same numbers that he won the jackpot with a year ago.
Mr Halstead, from Chorley, said: “I don’t think I have really changed, other than that I am now a lot more relaxed.
“I bought a Range Rover Sport and a nice house that I have been doing up.
“I had plans to go back to work but I don’t have the time!
“My life is now stress-free. It is brilliant.
“I am happy with what I won, but I’ve still bought a ticket for the Euro Millions and I still run the lottery syndicate at my old work. I can’t help it.
"You’ve got to be in it to win it.”
Geoff and Hilary Bennette
GEOFF and Hilary Bennette scooped more than £3.5million just three weeks ago.
And despite winning such a life-changing amount the couple, from Rishton, still insist that the cash would not change their ‘sensible’ lives.
They said that they had not spent a penny of their winnings yet and have no grand plans to.
Mr Bennette, a retired school governor, had pledged to travel the world and buy a brand new Mini Cooper.
But he said: “The win hasn’t made any difference. I have still had a lot of meetings to go to and life has carried on as normal.
“So far we haven’t bought a car and haven’t made any decisions.
“A lot of people have said to us that it is nice that a normal couple won the lottery.”
Mrs Bennette said she had continued her job as a nursery teacher in Burnley but was considering her future after the summer break.
Mark and Jean Fielden
MARK Fielden and his wife Jean won £1.2million in 1998 and have invested in property and travelled the world.
The retired couple have visited Australia, New Zealand, USA, Bali, Singapore and South America.
But they said that as much as they enjoyed travel they couldn’t leave their friends and family where they live in Todmorden.
Mr Fielden said: “We have done an extension on the house but why would we want to move? We live in a nice area and have wonderful neighbours.
“Since winning the jackpot it has been fabulous.
“I am glad it happened to us at our age, when I think we have been able to handle it better than a younger person might have.
“Even after all of this time there is still at least half of the winnings left.
"But we have really enjoyed ourselves the best we could.”