Imagine… Just imagine that a rash decision to purchase your third ever lottery ticket results in you winning the third biggest British lottery jackpot in history – a cool £101million. It could prove to be, arguably, the best decision of your life. Cambridgeshire couple Angie and Dave Dawes, whilst posing alongside an ‘Air Harrods’ helicopter with an exploding bottle of champagne, seem ecstatically overwhelmed by their winnings.
Bar the extravagant photocall, they appear to be a fairly normal middle-aged couple; him in his football shirt and her in a smart, red fitted dress. It soon transpires that while Angie works as a volunteer with the British Heart Foundation, her partner Dave has already handed in his notice to Premier Foods, the company where he worked as a shift supervisor, eager to begin his retirement.
Currently living in a very modest, one-bed flat in Wisbech, reports say the couple now dream of buying their first of many homes together; a grand Chelsea pad near the grounds of Dave’s beloved football pitch, which will of course be accompanied by a much lusted after season ticket. Their upcoming nuptials will also receive a pleasant cash boost, with the location being upgraded to the sunny shores of Portugal (where they also intend to buy a property), and the ceremony itself promising to be a ‘bit more glamorous’ than originally planned.
Yet despite now claiming to be the 703rd richest people in the country, the Dawes are proposing to distribute their wealth by elevating select family and friends ‘who have helped them through life’ to millionaire status, as well as making generous donations to yet-undisclosed causes. This extravagant generosity on their part leads us to that burning question: ‘How long does it take to spend £101million?’ The answer: not long if you intend to purchase 2468 exclusive Hermes diamond encrusted, crocodile skin Birkin bags, to splash out on no less than 65 Bugatti Veyron Super Sports (one for your every drive way), or to treat yourself a luxury weekend in the Royal Ancient Suite of St. Andrews finest Old Golf Course Hotel.
Of course, I do not believe for one minute that the Dawes intend to be that crude with their cash, but it does lead one to wonder whether the lottery lifestyle is truly a sustainable one. Surely after quitting the hard grind of your previous life, waving goodbye to your job, your somewhat small, inadequate house, and maybe even to your less glamorous friends, you can never truly replace what you had with all the money in the world. Surely, after several years of jet-setting between your umpteen mansions, eating Michelin-starred cuisine most nights and sitting front row for every public event, the satisfaction begins to wean and you start to tire of all the money? Heaven forbid, you may even miss the Monday morning board meetings, your favourite sagging sofa chair, and the would-be rocker from across the hall.
Reports are already surfacing about a less than happy relationship between Angie and her son from a previous relationship, who claims his mother disowned him after a string of affairs and refuses to support him financially. From other winners, there are also unhappy tales of ruin and despair: Ms Kelly, who, since winning a £35m jackpot back in 2007, has separated from her long-term boyfriend and established a security team to protect her teenage son from kidnapping, is now living as a recluse. She claims the pressure of her wealth is too overwhelming. And then there is Mark Gardiner, who describes himself as being ‘public property’ after winning just over £22m back in 1996. His life now consists of numerous legal cases against him, a fourth divorce and deteriorated friendships from his four closest friends, whom each ‘took advantage of him’ after he bought them houses.
My point is, that although it is all champagne and helicopters to begin with, that old cliché just cannot help but present itself: ‘money can’t buy you happiness’, or in this case; true satisfaction.