Ask the majority of big lottery winners about how their newfound wealth changed their lives, however, and they’ll probably tell you that one of the best parts of winning big is being able to help out their friends and family — and sometimes even total strangers.
With that in mind, today we’re bringing you five acts of generosity performed by some of the biggest EuroMillions winners so far.
- 1. Seven-Figure Friends
Lucky EuroMillions winners Dave and Angela Dawes scooped an incredible £101 million in October 2011 when they matched all five main numbers and both Lucky Stars.The enormous EuroMillions jackpot didn’t change just their lives, however — it changed the lives of 20 of their closest friends and relatives too.
“We intend to look after our family and friends and do the best we can,” the couple told reporters after coming forward to claim their prize. “We have drawn up a list of 15 to 20 people that we are going to make millionaires. Anyone who has helped us through our life, we intend to make them millionaires; it is not just going to be us.”
It really does pay to keep your friends close!
- 2. One-in-a-Million Send-Off
Susan and Lee Mullen, a couple from Grimsby who won £4.8 million in a 2011 EuroMillions draw, used a chunk of their newfound fortune to cover the cost of fellow local resident and lifelong Grimsby Town fan Jeffrey Smith’s funeral.
When Mr Smith passed away suddenly while travelling to Wembley to support his beloved Mariners, it became apparent that his family were lacking the funds to give him a proper send-off. Moved by their story, Susan and Lee decided to step in to pay for the funeral..
That’s far from the sum of their generosity, however. The couple has since then made newspaper headlines multiple times; including when they purchased a bicycle for a previously unemployed man who was struggling to travel to his newly acquired job, and when the pair invested £60,000 in Grimsby Town FC.
- 3. What’s Ours is Yours
Despite going on a huge spending spree, including the purchase of a £4.5 million eco-home (and then £6 million Grade II-listed mansion in the Cotswolds), £56 million-prize-winning couple Nigel and Justine Page decided to share a little of their wealth indirectly. Upon purchasing the first of their lottery-win homes, the Pages gifted the house that they had previously lived in — thought to have been worth an impressive £400,000 — to the woman they employed to clean it.
- 4. The Mysterious Benefactor
An anonymous EuroMillions player from France, meanwhile, gave the majority of his winnings away to roughly a dozen NGOs in an effort to help the disadvantaged.
The mysterious winner, known only to be a single, fifty-something from Haute-Garonne in southwestern France, gave away roughly £41 million in total, only stipulating that the groups that received the money must inform him of how they intend to use it before doing so. The generous winner’s identity remains a mystery to this day.
- 5. Lightening the Load
Finally, Colin and Chris Weir, the Ayrshire couple who won £161.6 million in July 2011, are not just known for being the biggest UK winners in EuroMillions history. Their generosity has also won them plenty of column inches.
After hearing about Kieran Maxwell, the 13-year-old boy from Heighington who lost his leg to cancer, the Weirs volunteered to pay for a new, lighter prosthetic limb for the previously very active boy. Partly thanks to the couple’s generosity, Keiran later went on to carry the torch at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In 2014, Chris also donated £750K to Breast Cancer Care, well as becoming an ambassador for the charity.
With a minimum jackpot of €17 million and two guaranteed UK millionaires in every EuroMillions draw, there’s never been a better time to play Europe’s biggest lottery. Who amongst your friends and family would you share your winnings with first if you hit the jackpot?