Wife admits hiding £1.5m lottery win
Plenty of national lottery big winners opt for secrecy, but none of them have gone as far as a mystery woman who revealed yesterday that her husband is still in the dark about her £1.5m win three years ago.
The mother of two said she had kept the bonanza quiet as far as her family was concerned, in case they started insisting on luxury holidays or were tempted to give up work.
Ringing a phone-in about money and happiness on BBC Radio Five Live, she spoke under an assumed name but satisfied producers that she was genuine. A BBC spokeswoman said a programme editor had rung her back and other “rigorous procedures” had been followed before the woman was put through to the presenter, Victoria Derbyshire.
She said she had a policy of rationing her extra spending power in the form of “family treats”, each one attributed to a pay rise, bonus or a bit of prudent saving. She has kept her previous job but cut back on her hours, telling her husband that the company was happy for her to spend the time “working from home”.
Using the pseudonym of Jane, suggested by the programme’s staff, she said a minor drug problem that had affected her husband 15 years ago initially made her decide to keep mum. She avoided the cardinal error of many of the 1,800 lottery millionaires, who accepted publicity because in the first burst of excitement on checking their numbers they blurted out that they had won. “I won quite a bit of money, just under £1.5m, and I’ve never, ever told anybody, not even my husband,” she told Derbyshire, who replied: “You’re kidding me. Why not?”
The woman said: “Fear that it would change our lives too dramatically. I feel if I had said, yes, I’ve won this money, that he would have wanted holidays, he perhaps would have wanted to give up work, which would destroy our little family unit we’ve got now.”
The woman said no one had suspected her good fortune because of her prudence, which meant most of the money was still intact. She admitted that she was living “a huge white lie”, but said: “I feel terribly guilty in one way, but in another way, we’ve got two young children and I think, well, if their lives change dramatically then it’s not fair on them. So I just want to keep things as they are.”
The lottery’s organiser, Camelot, which knows the identity and personal details of all big winners, said it could not comment on anyone who had requested privacy. Only 27% of winners in the past year have agreed to go public, with women and men roughly equally shy.
The oldest and youngest millionaires, at 87 and 16, are both female, and the overall tally of female millionaires is big enough to keep husbands and relatives guessing for a long time. The woman, meanwhile, answered the programme’s central question about happiness by saying: “Yes, it’s nice,” because she – if not the rest of her family – did not have to worry about bills.
Her story takes its place in lottery lore alongside Lucky the chicken, previously called Kiev, who walked on the calculator of her owner Billy Gibbons and picked the winning numbers, and Sarah Louise Wood, who got so excited by winning that she fainted, fell flat and had to collect her money with a black eye.
<p>Plenty of national lottery big winners opt for secrecy, but none of them have gone as far as a mystery woman who revealed yesterday that her husband is still in the dark about her £1.5m win three years ago.</p>