When you buy EuroMillions tickets in the UK, 28p of every £1 spent already makes its way to good causes across the country, but some lottery winners decide they would also like to distribute some of their newfound wealth to community projects or those less fortunate than themselves. Colin and Christine Weir banked £161.6 million (€185 million at the time) in July 2011 and set up the Weir Charitable Trust in 2013. The couple, from Largs in Ayrshire, made an initial contribution of £5 million and accept applications from charities, groups and individuals based in Scotland, or who operate in the country.
The Trust provides grants for sport, recreational facilities, animal welfare, health and culture, often funding projects that have struggled to raise cash elsewhere. Programmes helped so far include the Dads Rock preschool playgroup in Edinburgh, where dads and other male carers meet up with their children, and the Farmersfield Rest Home for Elderly Donkeys near Dumfries.
Generous Margaret Loughrey, of Strabane in County Tyrone, won £26.8 million (€32.1 million at the time) on Tuesday 26th November 2013 after buying a EuroMillions ticket on the way to hunt for a job. Loughrey immediately announced that she would give away all but £1 million, splitting the donation between those in need and towards reinvigorating her home town. Having been on Jobseeker’s Allowance when she won the bounty, Loughrey explained her decision by saying, "I know what it's like to have nothing. That's why I'm giving it away – I can't miss what I never had."
EuroMillions winners aren’t the only generous souls out there. In Canada, Tom Crist from Calgary won £24.5 million in May 2013. The former company CEO decided to donate the full amount to cancer charities, in honour of his wife Jan, who had died from the disease.
However you plan to spend tonight’s £17 million windfall, you need to buy EuroMillions tickets in order to have a chance of matching the five main numbers and two Lucky Stars drawn. Entries are available online or from authorised retailers across the participating nations and sales close at 7:30pm BST (8:30pm CEST). Good luck!