Toilets and a half-acre field among surprise purchases for lottery winners
Luxury cars and exotic holidays are often top of the list for new millionaires, but others have sprung a few surprises.
Community toilets and a field for a pet dog are among the surprising items National Lottery winners have bought with their cash windfalls.
Dennis and Shirley Banfield – who paid for new toilets for their local community centre in Winterbourne, Bristol – are among the winners featured with their purchases in a photo exhibition at Fulham Palace, south-west London, to mark the 25th anniversary of the National Lottery.
Mr Banfield, 88, and his 84-year-old wife, who won £18,139,352 on Lotto in February 2018, said: “We’re still in the house we lived in for 58 years, and the Winterbourne Community Centre has been a hub of our lives here.
“We’ve celebrated wedding receptions, anniversaries, children’s parties, and seen our daughter sing on stage.
“When we read that it needed new toilets, we donated £20,000 for the work – and cut the ribbon outside the Ladies and Gents ourselves at an official ceremony!”
The couple, who also funded new windows with their donation, added: “We joined a lunch at the centre last week and a man got up to use the loo. He said, ‘I’m just off to use the Banfields’, which really made our day!”
Faye Davies, 37, and husband Richard, 43, from Brecon, Wales, won £1 million on EuroMillions in June 2018 and spent £20,000 on a field for their dog Lucy.
“We found Lucy running up the road, starving and terrified. She had been abandoned on the mountainside a week earlier, and we took her home just for the weekend.
“Within a day, she had a name, and we knew we couldn’t hand her into a dog home. But she was terrified of people, of other dogs and water, so dog walks were a nightmare.
“Then, weeks after our win, a half-acre field came up for sale just down the road. We bought it for Lucy and this became her safe place for walkies.
“She’s so happy and carefree running around there – and this emaciated, scared dog has now learned how to play.
“Now we also have a Labrador puppy, Khaleesi, so they run together every day in ‘Lucy’s Field’.”
Retired Army warrant officer Ken Wedgeworth, 68, moved from the Midlands to the foot of Loch Ryan, Scotland, with fiancee Jannette, 52, after winning £1 million on EuroMillions in November 2016.
“We set off to house hunt in Ireland after our win and stopped for the night at Portpatrick, arriving at the hotel in darkness.
“The next morning we opened the curtains and I was bowled over by the view.
“We went on to Ireland but neither of us could stop thinking about this amazing little town.
“We stopped for a bag of chips and Jannette asked, ‘Do you fancy Scotland?’. In that second we knew. We both wrote our answers down on scraps of paper and then compared. We’d both written ‘I do’.
“We travelled back to Scotland and booked to view a timber bungalow. It was so perfect, Jannette couldn’t speak. Six weeks later it was ours.
“Those original scraps of paper, saying ‘I do’, are framed in our home as a reminder of the overnight stopover that changed our lives.”
Chef Bill Mullarkey, 59, and his wife Cath, 58, revived their dream of building a £300,000 home in St Lucia with some of the £1 million they won on EuroMillions in July 2017.
Mr Mullarkey, from Coventry, said: “Cath and I met in St Lucia working as chefs in a hotel.
“Twenty years ago, we bought a plot of land planning to one day build a home of our own. But by July 2017, we realised we didn’t have the funds to build on the land and probably never would.
“It was heartbreaking, but we decided to sell up. We returned to the UK feeling really down – only to win the lottery.”
The couple, who built a three-storey home, added: “We also bought a £20,000 boat called Freedom which sums up our win – we have the freedom now to do whatever we want.”
The exhibition at Fulham Palace Gallery will run from October 30 to November 10.
The palace and surrounding Bishop’s Park have benefited from £9 million of money raised by National Lottery players.
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