AS the National Lottery celebrates 25 years of making millionaires this week, Geoff Bennette reveals how his life has changed since scooping more than £3m.

Mr Bennette, from Rishton, won £3,530,707 on June 18, 2011.

Since then, the 70-year-old and his wife, Hilary, 63, have reaped the benefits of the cash by travelling across the world.

Mr Bennette said: “I had recently retired as a manager at Bolton Council.

“I discovered we’d won early on the Sunday morning but, as I was volunteering at a cycling event for the day, I left the ticket at home before contacting Camelot.

"As we love travelling by train, we’ve since explored South Africa, Scandinavia, India, New Zealand and Australia.

“Whilst in Australia, celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary, we visited Uluru (Ayres Rock) when a rainbow appeared.

“It was a magical moment, so rare even the tour guides ran off the buses with their cameras.

“You can’t put a price on the experiences we’ve had and memories we’ve made.”

Along with other Lottery winners from the past 25 years, Mr Bennette lined-up for a glamorous Vanity Fair inspired photoshoot to help celebrate a quarter century of The National Lottery.

Lancashire Telegraph:

With winnings worth more than £110 million between them, the lucky individuals gathered to share tips and reveal how their lives have been transformed by their wins.

Since it began in November 1994, the National Lottery has created 5,500 millionaires, including Brian Caswell, from Bolton, who won £24.9m on the EuroMillions in 2009.

Mr Caswell, who lives in a five-bedroom detached house with wife, Joan, said: “We bought ourselves a house, and a house for each of our adult daughters, all in the same day.

“Our favourite moment has been taking our grandchildren to Lapland on a private plane.

“Five years ago, I needed an emergency quadruple by-pass, and, instead of waiting, our daughter researched the top surgeon and I paid to go private – so the Lottery has kept me healthy as well as happy.

“Joan and I have just celebrated our diamond wedding anniversary and feel very lucky in life. I even won a tenner last week.”

The National Lottery has brought together winners from the past quarter of a century to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.

Here are 25 winners and their stories:

- 1995

Elaine Thompson, 63, from Killingworth near Newcastle won £2,704,666 on December 9 1995.

She now lives in a four-bedroom detached house with her 61-year-old husband Derek.

Despite her win, she said her children still had to work through their teens and use some of their savings to buy their own homes.

- 1996

Deana Sampson from Sheffield said she had just £3.60 in her bank account when she won £5,439,681 on October 5 1996.

The 58-year-old, who was working as a hairdresser and living in a council house at the time, said while her first purchase was a pair of trainers, she later went on to buy a £800,000 yacht.

- 1997

Cheryl Brudenell, 52, from Stockton-on-Tees in County Durham won £916,915 on February 22 1997.

The mother-of-two, who lives in a five-bedroom home with her husband Mark, 54, said the win allowed her to "indulge" in her "passion" for singer Robbie Williams.

She has seen Mr Williams perform around 40 times across the globe since 2001 and met him in Las Vegas for the first time in 2018.

- 1998

Viv Moss, 68, from Newquay, Cornwall, said she suffered from sickness and diarrhoea for a fortnight after winning £6,048,499 on October 3 1998 - describing the experience as "like an unexpected death".

She moved from a four-bedroom home to a five-bed and swapped her eight-year-old Ford Focus for a Bentley.

Mrs Moss now lives with husband Kevin, 73, and has two grown-up children.

- 1999

Sam Lange, from Seaford, East Sussex, won £1,575,878 on May 8 1999.

At the time, she had been saving £50 a week to see her father in New Zealand as they had spent four years apart.

After winning the lottery, she visited him for one month as part of a £5,000 holiday.

The 47-year-old used some of her winnings to extend her existing house with her 53-year-old partner Malcolm Russell, his son and their three children.

She was also able to give up work and devote her time to being a mother.

- 2000

Ray Wragg, 81, from Sheffield, quit his job the morning after he won £7,649,520 on January 22 2000.

On breaking the news to his boss, Mr Wragg said: "When I told him I'd had a win, he said: 'That reminds me, I need to check my ticket.' I said 'don't bother Dave - I won the lot'."

Mr Wragg, whose wife Barbara died last year, said they had never left the country before the win and had been on holiday to Torquay in Devon for 31 consecutive years.

The couple went on a cruise after winning the lottery, which Mr Wragg said they "loved".

They also purchased a Range Rover and filled it with Easter eggs for a local school in Sheffield.

- 2001

Tom Naylor, 64, from Wheaton Aston, Staffordshire, said he was "absolutely convinced" he would win the lottery one day.

Then, on November 14 2001 he won £15,528,286.

He swapped his Ford Granada for two Aston Martins, three Jaguars, a Ford Mustang and a Land Rover Discovery.

Mr Naylor, who lives with his wife Rita, 62, in a four-bed barn conversion, said his biggest extravagance was a £25,000 trip to New York with nine family members on Concorde.

"When we saw three giant white stretch limos waiting for us outside the airport, it was an incredible moment," Mr Naylor said. "I felt 10ft tall."

- 2002

Sarah Ibbetson, 41, from Leeds, was on maternity leave as a dental nurse when she won £3,013,767 on July 20 2002.

Her first two purchases - with husband Aldan, 41 - were a Mercedes-Benz and a Porsche. They paid for both vehicles on a debit card.

The couple, who have three children, also made it on to the bottom of Sunday Times Rich List and started their own number plate business.

They now live in a five-bed detached house.

- 2003

Trish Emson, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, won £1,747,728 on October 25 2003.

At the time she had been saving for IVF treatment after trying for a baby for five-and-a-half years with her partner Graham Norton, 49.

She said: "A few weeks after our win, we were invited to an England rugby game but the Champagne made me feel sick. Two weeks later, we discovered I was pregnant."

The 49-year-old said she bought her son Benjamin, who is now 15, a babygro that read: "millionaire in training".

- 2004

Ben Woods from Liverpool said his parents were "white with shock" after they checked his numbers and realised he had won £2,485,736 on February 21 2004.

On the day of his win he was single, living at home and had gone to the pub after finishing his shift as a railway guard.

"Mum and dad were sitting there, white with shock, because they'd checked my numbers," the 38-year-old said.

"Dad said he needed to talk to me alone in the toilets and I thought: 'What have I done?' I was sure I was about to be told off."

Mr Woods said the money has paid for 12 trips to New York for his parents and new property.

He is now a stay-at-home father, living with his wife Leanne and their three children.

- 2005

Sarah Cockings from Whitley Bay near Newcastle said she continues to live a "very normal life" despite winning £3,045,705 on April 30 2005.

The 36-year-old said she went back to university to study after her win and later purchased "boob jobs" for her two sisters Alex and Emma, and herself.

She lives with her partner and her three children Bobby, Otto and Sadie in the house she purchased after the win.

- 2006

Mother-of-two Geraldine Bradley said her first thought after winning £3,570,063 on March 11 2006 was she needed to get her ironing done before the press came round.

The 50-year-old, who lives in Gwynnon, Llanarthne, south-west Wales, with husband Christopher, 48, said her first purchase was a £9.99 KFC to celebrate.

It was followed by a new Mercedes-Benz four months later, she said.

They now live in a four-bed house with three reception rooms, a snooker room, a maze and a lake.

- 2007

Kerri-Ann Robinson said "everything went blurry" when she realised she had won £2,543,691 on January 24 2007.

The 41-year-old, who lives in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, with her husband Tony and her two children, was a mature student studying for a diploma in business at college at the time of her win.

She said she purchased a Lucky Dip card for the Lotto draw as an "afterthought" while buying her daughter blackcurrant juice.

"I went from wearing costume jewellery to buying the real thing," she said.

"I married Tony in 2010 in a dream wedding and walking down the aisle was one of the most magical moments of my life."

- 2008

Tracy Field said she was a "struggling" single mother who had been diagnosed with cancer before her £2,561,513 win on July 30 2008.

The 51-year-old, who lives in a four-bed house in Benfleet, Essex, was working three jobs at the time, servicing vending machines, cleaning and delivering catalogues.

On the night she won, the mother-of-two said she went to Tesco at midnight in her pyjamas and bought a box of Bonio dog biscuits, because she "couldn't think of what else to buy".

She later used her winnings to buy a £430,000 home and properties for her two children.

- 2009

Brian Caswell, from Bolton, Greater Manchester, won £24,951,269 on the EuroMillions on June 12 2009.

The 84-year-old and his wife Joan, 82, moved from their home of 48 years to a five-bedroom detached house following the win.

As well as buying a house for each of their adult daughters, Mr Caswell said the money also paid for an emergency operation.

He said: "I needed an emergency quadruple bypass and instead of waiting our daughter researched the top surgeon and I paid to go private - so the lottery has kept me healthy as well as happy."

- 2010

Susan Herdman, from Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, said she could barely afford her heating bills before she won £1,182,714 on January 16 2010.

The 51-year-old, who was a single mother to her son Jake at the time, said she carried on working at the hair salon she owned for nine months after the win.

"I picked up a magazine in the salon and read a story about a woman who'd had a perfect life and suddenly died," she said.

"It was a light bulb moment. I sold my salon two days later and never looked back. "

She said she turned her focus to autograss racing, eventually winning a national championship in 2016 and 2017.

She now lives with her partner Andrew.

- 2011

Geoffrey Bennette, 70, who lives near Blackburn in Lancashire, won £3,530,707 on June 18 2011.

Mr Bennette said he had recently retired as a manager at Bolton Council when he became a winner with his 63-year-old wife Hilary.

He said they have since explored South Africa, Scandinavia, India, New Zealand and Australia, where they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.

- 2012

Libby Elliot from Aberdeenshire said her winning ticket was paid for by her father, Tony Elliot, who was in hospital at the time.

The 57-year-old won £2,159,664 on August 18 2012 from a £2 Lucky Dip.

She is now travelling the world following her father's death before Christmas last year and her four children leaving home.

Ms Elliot said she has lost 11 stone since winning.

- 2013

Dione Buss from Bridgwater in Somerset won £1,888,630 on September 28 2013 shortly after returning to work at the local council following sick leave.

Mrs Buss, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after the birth of her daughter Harriet, said winning the jackpot had improved her health as her condition was made worse by stress.

The 53-year-old, who lives with her husband Richard, 54, said she has since visited the Great Wall of China and recently celebrated her daughter's wedding.

- 2014

Matt Myles, from Hereford, said he suffered a panic attack when he was presented with a £1 million cheque after winning the EuroMillions raffle on April 8 2014.

The 33-year-old said he immediately quit his job and flew to Bali with seven friends on what was the "first of many lads' holidays".

He then met his wife Stacy, who fell pregnant while the couple were travelling around the world.

The couple, who are expecting a second child, now live in a converted chapel with their son Jude.

Mr Myles said he is planning to buy more land to create a football pitch for his children.

- 2015

Anne Canavan, from Northern Ireland, still lives in the same four-bed house she owned before winning £1,054,000 on August 28 2015.

The 58-year-old said she had been washing her car on the afternoon of the draw and told her neighbour "it's about time someone from around here won the lottery".

She said since winning she has spent £50,000 improving her house and purchased four other properties as investments.

Ms Canavan now designs and invents new products, with 17 innovations currently in development.

- 2016

Jamie Heavens, from Bournemouth, bought himself a business after winning £1 million on a scratchcard on September 9 2016.

The 26-year-old, who lives with his wife Danielle and their son Hughie, was working as a roofer for a family firm when he won.

He had been sent to refuel a truck by his uncle and purchased a winning Millionaire Riches scratchcard at a petrol station.

He later climbed on to a roof he was working on to get signal and called Camelot to confirm his winnings.

Mr Heavens, who still works, said some of the money was used to pay for his £25,000 wedding.

- 2017

Bev Middleton, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, said she was in debt, living on a council estate and "struggling" to raise her four children when she won £14,509,500 on February 17 2017.

With two autistic children, the 40-year-old, who was on benefits, said she purchased a house "five minutes up the road" so her children could be closer to the school they attend.

"I rang to cancel my benefits and the lady nearly dropped the phone when I said I'd won the lottery," she said.

"One of the best things I've been able to do is send my son, who struggles socially, to private school."

She said since starting at the school her son, Kian, is no longer bullied and is on the rugby team.

Miss Middleton , who now lives with her fiance Colin Brandon and her children, said she also paid £7,000 for a gastric sleeve last year that helped her go from 17 stone in weight to 11 stone.

- 2018

Plasterer Arron Walshaw from Ossett in West Yorkshire named his second daughter Lottie after winning £1 million on July 11 2018.

The 33-year-old initially thought he had been pranked when he checked the results against his ticket, which was stuck to his fridge door.

Within three weeks he purchased a property with his fiance Ceri Hall, 24, and one month after winning they had their second daughter.

Mr Walshaw said while he still works, he is able to spend more time with his two children.

- 2019

Natalie Metcalf, from Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, was eight months' pregnant when she won £1 million on EuroMillions on February 1 2019.

She went into labour the next day - one month earlier than expected - while viewing a house.

The 38-year-old, who lives with her fiance Andy Symes, 41, said: "I'm convinced it was the shock."

She said they named their daughter Poppy Marie Lottie, who was born on February 5, in honour of the win.

They have now purchased a new home and will be getting married next year.