A Manchester couple who took home £12.4 million ($16.5 million) jackpot in the EuroMillions Lottery in 2010 has decided to change the lives of about 30 family and friends using their winnings. Sharon and Nigel Mather’s celebration had only been Chinese takeaway at the time which they didn’t even eat, but instead shared with three managers at the hotel where Nigel used to work.
The life-changing winning ticket was picked up by the couple while on holiday. They discovered they had won only upon returning home. Nigel, 55, headed off to Tesco to do some food shopping, and Sharon,55, who was working with the Trafford Council and on maternity leave after giving birth to their son, turned on the TV to check lottery results.
According to the Mirror, the Mathers were “on and off” players and it wasn’t Sharon’s usual numbers she played that day. She thought something had just gone wrong with the results – but as the shock washed over her she realized they had just won the Euromillions jackpot.
“It just doesn’t happen to normal people like us. I phoned my husband and told him to come home quick and he thought something had happened to the kids or my dad,” she said.
They had initially rejected going public with their win but eventually, they changed their minds. They figured it would be a difficult task having to lie to friends and family about their windfall when all they wanted to do was help. “It wasn’t about showing off, “ Sharon said.
“We have always said we class it as a responsibility to have that amount of money and we want to do good with it and not waste it or blow it.”
Nigel had prepared a spreadsheet and the couple went around to about 30 of their friends and family handing out a little card with a cheque inside it. Sharon likened their mission to that of the Secret Millionaire.
In the cards they sent, a message was written: “Whatever we have given you – because some we had maybe just met and just gave them a token – please don’t look at it in reflection of what we have won, just think of what difference that money will make to you.”
Their first purchase was a bungalow for Sharon’s father and later they decided to buy a holiday home in Abersoch, North Wales.
One of the couple’s biggest donations was to Manchester’s Francis House Hospice. The place had a special space in their hearts following the death of their 18-year-old niece.
In almost more than a decade since the Mathers won the lottery, their children don’t even remember the moment they had struck gold, having been raised to never brag or show off while reminding them that they have just been very blessed and lucky.