The big money Lottery winners who have gone public

The amounts they won and how the cash changed their lives.

19 May 2022

Before Joe and Jess Thwaite announced their record-breaking £184 million EuroMillions’ jackpot win, just six UK winners who had bagged more than £100 million in the National Lottery had made the decision to go public.

A total of 15 players have won a jackpot of more than £100m in the history of the National Lottery.

Here is a look at the other top winners who went public after scooping life-changing amounts of cash.

– Colin and Chris Weir, £161,653,000

EuroMillions lottery winners
Colin and Chris Weir (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr and Mrs Weir from Largs, North Ayrshire, bagged their historic winnings in July 2011, making them the biggest UK winners at the time.

Mr Weir used £2.5 million of his fortune to invest in his beloved Partick Thistle football club, which led to one of the stands at the stadium to be named after him.

Former TV camera operator Colin and ex-psychiatric nurse Mrs Weir also set up the Weir Charitable Trust in 2013 and donated £1 million to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.

The couple announced a decision to “divorce amicably” in 2019, after 38 years of marriage, and Mr Weir died later that year, at the age of 71.

– Adrian and Gillian Bayford, £148,656,000

EuroMillions winners
Adrian and Gillian Bayford (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Mr and Mrs Bayford won 190 million euro in a EuroMillions draw in August 2012, which came to just over £148 million.

The couple had bought a Grade-II listed estate in Cambridgeshire, complete with cinema and billiards room but it was sold in 2021, some years after the pair divorced, as reported by The Mirror.

– Frances and Patrick Connolly, £114,969,775

Lottery winner gives away half of �115m fortune
Frances Connolly and Patrick Connolly (Liam McBurney/PA)

Former social worker and teacher Mrs Connolly, originally from Glebe in Co Tyrone, set up two charitable foundations after she and her husband won almost £115 million on New Year’s Day 2019.

Their biggest expenditure after their win was a six-bedroom house in County Durham with seven acres of land, while Mr Connolly drives a second-hand Aston Martin.

The couple are not extravagant with their wealth and Mrs Connolly has no desire to buy a yacht.

She estimates she has given away £60m, including to charity, but does not keep a tally, joking this year that she would be worried in case her husband saw it.

– Neil Trotter, £107,932,603

Euromillions lottery jackpot winner
Neil Trotter (Steve Parsons/PA)

Neil Trotter, from south London, went from former car mechanic to multimillionaire in March 2014.

He told the BBC in 2019 that “I am living my dream”, but it had taken him a few years to get used to the surge in his finances.

He bought a big house with a lake, with some land that needed a lot of work, which he said gave him something to do.

Mr Trotter said he also helped out some people financially.

– Steve and Lenka Thomson, £105,100,701

Euromillions winners
Steve Thomson and his wife Lenka Thomson (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Mr Thomson, a builder from Selsey, West Sussex, and his wife Lenka, continued to live in their £150,000 home until over a year after their huge win in 2019.

One of their first purchases was a second-hand van and a Volvo XC90.

Speaking after the draw, father-of-three Mr Thomson said he felt like he was having a heart attack when he realised he had the winning numbers on his Lucky Dip ticket.

– Dave and Angela Dawes, £101,203,600

EuroMillions winners
Dave and Angela Dawes (Chris Radburn/PA)

Dave and Angela Dawes, from Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, won on their third go on the EuroMillions draw in October 2011.

Mr Dawes, who was a shift supervisor for Premier Foods, said he “didn’t sleep a wink” the night of the win, as it was too late to call Camelot after the couple checked their numbers.

An avid Chelsea fan, having been a steward at the club in the past, a season ticket was on Mr Dawes’ shopping list.

According to the BBC, a court ruled in 2017 that Mr Dawes did not have to financially support his son who the broadcaster said was seeking a ruling that Mr and Mrs Dawes must financially support him for the rest of their lives.

More from Perspective

Get a free copy of our print edition


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.