What could be better, heading into your senior years, than knowing you and your family are going to be able to live in comfort, be able to pay your bills, settle any debts, and feel financially stable? For some, the dream becomes a reality – but can be difficult to handle. Here are two tales of late-in-life lottery winners, with two opposing stories.
Late in Life Lottery Winners: Dennis and Shirley Banfield and Family
History was made in February 2018 as a couple hailing from Bristol have become the oldest-ever winners of the UK National Lottery when they scooped a huge £18 million jackpot.
Dennis Banfield aged 87 and his wife Shirley were understandably incredibly emotional after receiving the news and spoke to the press at a conference in Gloucestershire once their win was made public. Speaking to the media, Dennis tried to describe what the win meant to him. He added that he and his wife, Shirley, 83, will share their winnings with their daughters.
Mr. Banfield hasn’t been in the best of health and in fact, was in hospital over the Christmas season recuperating from an operation for a leg infection. He spoke of his family and said that his daughters, Tina and Karen, would get more benefits from the money. He went on to add that if they could help anyone else out, then they would do their best.
It was Dennis’ wife Shirley, who bought the ticket from their local newsagents in Bristol. Amazingly, she out just one line on a Lucky Dip game for the Lotto on a Saturday evening. It wasn’t until the following morning when they checked the numbers that they realized they had won – Shirley read them out and said “Who’d have those numbers?” Denis replied, “I do”.
When asked what they might spend their money on, Shirley, who worked as a local government officer and as a shop assistant before her retirement said they might consider a new car – one to replace their old Nissan Micra, but that they wouldn’t be opting for anything flash like a Ferrari or Maserati, rather something roomier!
She also said they might swap their three-bedroom house of 57 years for a bungalow, but it would need to have space for a workshop for her husband, who despite his years and poor health is still a very skilled and experienced carpenter.
The couple has decided to split the winnings three ways, with the couple taking a third and the remaining two-thirds to go between their daughters.
The family celebrated the win by going out for a meal at a carvery, but she said it was ‘nothing special’. She admitted that when she told their granddaughter about the win, she replied: “Gran, it’s not April Fool’s Day”
The couple, who are grandparents to Karen’s two children and Tina’s three stepchildren, says they may eventually move and get a bungalow, as they have recently applied for a free council stair lift to help with mobility in their current home, owing to Mr. Banfield’s knee injury and ongoing leg problems.
National Lottery organizers Camelot confirmed to the press that the couple has been the oldest ever winners of a prize fund of more than £ 1 million!
Mr. Banfield, who hails from Winterbourne, a large village on the north side of Bristol, said: “Shirley went berserk, she went flying up in the air. Tina thought her mum had fallen over and said: “Has mum had a fall?” I had the ticket in my hand for all of five minutes and didn’t see it again all day.”
The couple met on a blind date and have been together for almost 60 years. It’s a heartwarming tale and we hope that they are able to live happily and enjoy their winnings!
However, for every happy tale, there is an equally sad one. Our next story highlights the fate of someone who won the lottery but found it gave him nothing but misery.
Late in Life Lottery Winners: Daniel Millar
Daniel Millar, felt like a very lucky man indeed when he struck it lucky on the lottery, winning a huge sum of £80,000. Hailing from Motherwell in Scotland, Mr. Millar had been suffering from long-term health problems and felt that the lottery win would be a big help for him as he struggled to manage his conditions.
However, Mr. Millar, aged 63 didn’t invest his winnings wisely or use them sensibly. He immediately blew the money on a cruise and two holidays to Benidorm, but the worst part of the story is that he kept the big win from the Department for Work and Pensions, meaning they were in the dark about the amount of money he’d received.
Millar, now totally skint, told The Daily Record, a Scots-based newspaper that whilst he had spent a lot of the money on holidays, he had also gifted cash to his family and invested in some home improvements and bought some new clothes for himself.
After his win in September last year, he had spent £80,000 in less than two months. By November the DWP had uncovered his story and stopped all his benefits. The 63-year-old no longer qualifies for income support, housing benefit, or his council tax reduction.
Speaking afterward he said “It’s a nightmare. I don’t know what I can do and I don’t where to turn to. In December, I got a letter from the DWP saying I had to go to an appointment. They then told me I had been reported by the tax office for having £80,000 in my bank. That was true in September but not when I went for the interview. I was £7 overdrawn.”
Now all Mr. Millar has to survive on is a personal independence payment which is £350 per month and a pension of £1.08 per week. He also has to pay rent and council tax while his wife and carer Bridget, 63, and carer get a small sum of £62 every week.
Speaking afterward, Bridget said: “There are people winning millions of pounds and we just get a bit of luck and all of a sudden, we are punished for it. We helped our neighbors and friends out with some cash. We gave it to our family and have nothing left. We paid for three family holidays – a cruise and two big trips to Benidorm. We got the kitchen and hall decorated and the bathroom and living room are to be done. There is nothing left. The DWP has said we weren’t entitled to any money. They say that we have deprived ourselves of capital and don’t qualify for the benefits.”
It’s a cautionary tale, but one that should be heeded – always be honest where money is concerned!