We’ve all dreamt about what we would do if we were to win the lottery. In our list below, those dreams became an overnight reality.
From owning football clubs to becoming philanthropists, these lottery winners prove that while money might not necessarily be able to buy you happiness; it can certainly bring you joy in helping others.
Won a EuroMillions jackpot of £25 million in 2009
At the age of 71, retired engineer Brian Caswell’s eyesight was starting to fail him. He went into his local off-licence in 2009 to have his winning ticket scanned for a potential payout unaware that he had just won the EuroMillions jackpot! In fact, it wasn’t until he got home to put on his reading glasses that he found out he had won nearly £25 million.
Caswell, who had been married to his wife Joan for nearly 50 years, decided to spend the money on family. They bought homes for their two daughters and paid off close relatives’ mortgages.
The caring duo also treated their entire family to a private jet trip to the Mediterranean island of Majorca and a Christmas getaway to visit Father Christmas in Lapland.
Other beneficiaries of their goodwill included the residents of their hometown, Bolton, after the couple set up a charity to aid local causes.
Speaking about how winning the prize has changed his life last year, the now 79-year-old said: “The whole lottery experience has really brought our family closer together which is amazing. Being able to give my family financial security and help people in our local community is such a fantastic feeling I can’t even put it into words!”
As a keen gardener, Caswell also decided to spend some of his winnings on hiring a professional to help him grow some carrots in his small allotment.
Won a Lotto jackpot of £15 million in 2004
In July 2004, Thea Bristow was working at a small souvenir factory in the seaside town of Torquay, England. On a weekend trip away with her mother to London, Bristow decided to buy her usual lottery ticket numbers (based on the ages of their children) once she got off her train at Waterloo.
Her husband, Paul, was unable to work at the time due to a back injury and she’d also recently received the bad news that she would be made redundant at the end of the year.
In that sense, the couple’s £15 million Lotto Jackpot win came at just the right time.
The pair’s first desire wasn’t to upgrade on their small, terraced house – instead, they decided to take the local scout group, of which Paul had supported for over 20 years, on an all-expenses trip to the west coast of Canada.
Their biggest indulgence, however, was to come in the shape of the town’s local football team, Torquay United. After running into financial trouble in 2007, Paul couldn’t resist the temptation of joining a local consortium of business owners in taking over the club.
Sadly, in 2010, Paul developed diabetes and died later in the year. Thea decided to carry on her late husband’s work, becoming one of the first female chairwomen of a football club in 2013.
She told the National Lottery recently: “Paul was really the football fan out of the two of us when we first won, but over the years I found that I’ve grown to love it! “We’ve been able to do so many great things since our win and I feel so lucky.”
With their winnings, the couple has also been able to support causes close to their heart such as the Make a Wish Foundation and the local community.
Won a Mega Millions jackpot of $28.7 million in 2011
John Kutey was part of a group of seven New York state workers that would regularly pool together $2 each to play the lottery. You can imagine their surprise then, when on an early spring morning, one of the workers checked the numbers against the Saturday draw and found out that they won $319 million between them.
Upon receiving the news from his co-worker, Kutey recalled that his hands started to shake so violently that he couldn’t even dial a phone to call his wife, Linda.
After cashing in their part of the settlement, some $28.7 million in 2011, the Kuteys decided to donate $250,000 of their winning into building a small water park in their local community where they grew up.
Since then, the couple has retired and moved to Florida to enjoy a quiet life away from the prying media.
Colin & Christine Weir
Won a EuroMillions jackpot of £161 million in 2011
Christine Weir was sitting on her bed when she decided to check the result of the night’s EuroMillions draw. Due to the size of the jackpot, she had purchased five Lucky Dips earlier in the day. After slowly checking her numbers on each ticket, she finally came across one line where everything seemed to match. To her disbelief, she checked and re-checked multiple times before going downstairs to tell her husband, Colin. The retired couple were too excited to sleep that night and ended up staying up until the lottery offices opened at 9am the following morning.
The couple famously chose to go public with their winnings, which made them one of the wealthiest couples in the whole of Scotland.
They quickly paid off their debts, bought their children houses and invested in a £3.5 million dream home for themselves.
The pair also funded a new youth centre in the local community and helped clear the debts of their nearest football club, Partick Thistle. Last Christmas, they even paid for a huge light display in the small town of Troon.
Recently, the former TV Cameraman and psychiatric nurse bought a holiday home in Barcelona, Spain. It is estimated that their £161 million fortune earns them around £7,000 in interest a day, which is more than enough for a few sangrias.
Won a Powerball jackpot of $188 million in 2016
Since desperately working five part-time jobs at Walmart, Food Lion, KFC, McDonald’s and Subway to support her four kids, 26-year-old Marie Holmes really needs a lucky break.
She certainly found one at the start of 2016, when she won a third of the Powerball’s $564 million jackpot.
After receiving the money, Holmes has been able to buy her mother a house. She was able to complete her education and provide greater care for her sick son who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Speaking to the Washington Post about her win, Holmes response was, “I am deeply humbled and grateful for the opportunities this has created for my family.”
Won the Texas Lottery jackpot of $144 million in 2010
In 2010, devout Christian William Kiefer won a staggering $144 million dollars playing the Texas Lottery.
Dedicated to his faith, the 59-year-old decided to donate 60% of his winnings to charity. Some causes close to his heart includes: the care of retired Catholic nuns, Haitian relief operations, and also the protection of abused children.
“Many winners plan to give to charity, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen generosity quite like this,” says Lottery Executive Director Gary Grief at the time of the news.