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National Lottery winners reveal how they spent their fortunes to mark game's 25th anniversary

Ellena Cruse

From paying for life-saving surgery to enabling a music fan to follow Robbie Williams around the world, National Lottery winners have revealed how they spent their fortunes to mark a quarter of a century since the game began.

Twenty-five lucky players with a combined fortune of more than £110million posed for a photo shoot to mark the celebration.

Among those featured in the line-up - which included one person for each year of the lottery’s existence - was 84-year-old Brian Caswell, from Bolton, who used part of his £24.9m win in 2009 to help pay for a life-saving bypass.

Another winner, Cheryl Brudenell, 52, from Stockton-on-Tees, spent part of her fortune on indulging in her "passion" for Robbie Williams and managed to watch the singer 40 times around the world.

Winners from each year of the lottery's existence posing for a Vanity Fair-style photo shoot to mark The National Lottery's 25th anniversary (PA)

Meanwhile, 36-year-old Sarah Cockings, from Newcastle, spend some of her £3m prize on buying breast implants for herself and her sisters.

Since the first draw in November 1998, The National Lottery said it has paid out more than £71 billion in prizes and raised £40 billion to support thousands of projects and charities across the UK.

Here are the stories below:

The winner who paid for an emergency operation

Brian Caswell, 84, who moved into a five-bedroom detached home with his wife Jean, 82, following the win, said his EuroMillions windfall in 2009 not only paid for the new property, but for essential surgery.

He said: “Five years ago, I needed an emergency quadruple bypass, and instead of waiting, our daughter researched the top surgeon and I paid to go private – so the lottery has kept me healthy as well as happy.”

The music fan who funded her 'Robbie Hobby'

While new homes and cars are common purchases, Cheryl Brudenell, from Stockton-on-Tees, used part of her £916,915 winnings to fund what she calls her “Robbie Hobby”.

(Getty Images)

Since 2001, the 52-year-old, who won the money in 1997, has watched singer Robbie Williams perform around 40 times across the world.

She even managed to meet him in Las Vegas for the first time in 2018

The pensioner who quit his job and went cruising

Ray Wragg, 81, from Sheffield, quit his job the morning after he won £7,649,520 in January 2000.

On breaking the news to his boss, Mr Wragg said: “When I told him I’d had a win, he said: ‘That reminds me, I need to check my ticket.’ I said ‘don’t bother Dave – I won the lot’.”

Mr Wragg, whose wife Barbara died last year, said they had never left the country before the win and had been on holiday to Torquay in Devon for 31 consecutive years.

The couple used part of their winnings to go on holiday(Chris Gorman/Big Ladder )

The couple went on a cruise after winning which Mr Wragg said they “loved”. They also purchased a Range Rover and filled it with Easter eggs for a local school in Sheffield.

The mother who went into early labour

Natalie Metcalf, from Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, went into early labour when she won £1m on EuroMillions on February 1, 2019.

She went into labour the next day while eight months pregnant while viewing a house.

The 38-year-old, who lives with her fiance Andy Symes, 41, said: “I’m convinced it was the shock.”

She said they named their daughter Poppy Marie Lottie, who was born on February 5, in honour of the win.

The council tenant who bought a yacht

Deana Sampson, from Sheffield, said she had just £3.60 in her bank account when she won £5,439,681 on October 5 1996.

One winner went on to by a yacht (AP)

The 58-year-old, who was working as a hairdresser and living in a council house at the time, said her first purchase was a pair of trainers, but thath she went on to buy a £800,000 yacht.

The multi-millionaire who made her teens work for their own homes

Elaine Thompson, 63, from Killingworth near Newcastle, won £2,704,666 on December 9 1995.

She now lives in a four-bedroom detached house with her 61-year-old husband Derek.

Dione Buss from Bridgwater in Somerset won £1,888,630 on September 28 2013 (© PA)

Despite her win, she said her children still had to work through their teens and use some of their savings to buy their own homes.

The winner who suffered diarrhoea for two weeks

Viv Moss, 68, from Newquay, Cornwall, said she suffered from sickness and diarrhoea for a fortnight after winning £6,048,499 on October 3 1998 – describing the experience as “like an unexpected death”.

She moved from a four-bedroom home to a five-bed and swapped her eight-year-old Ford Focus for a Bentley.

The mum who visited her father in New Zealand

Sam Lange, from Seaford, East Sussex, won £1,575,878 on May 8 1999.

The winner could visit her dad after four years apart (AP)

At the time, she had been saving £50 a week to see her father in New Zealand as they had spent four years apart.

After winning the lottery, she visited him for one month as part of a £5,000 holiday.

The 47-year-old used some of her winnings to extend her existing house with her 53-year-old partner Malcolm Russell, his son and their three children. She was also able to give up work and devote her time to being a mother.

The winner who flew nine family members to New York on Concorde

Tom Naylor, 64, from Wheaton Aston, Staffordshire, said he was “absolutely convinced” he would win the lottery one day. Then, on November 14 2001, he won £15,528,286.

The trip cost £25,000 (Getty Images)

He swapped his Ford Granada for two Aston Martins, three Jaguars, a Ford Mustang and a Land Rover Discovery.

Mr Naylor, who lives with his wife Rita, 62, in a four-bed barn conversion, said his biggest extravagance was a £25,000 trip to New York with nine family members on Concorde.

“When we saw three giant white stretch limos waiting for us outside the airport, it was an incredible moment,” Mr Naylor said. “I felt 10ft tall.”

The nurse who made the Sunday Times Rich List

Sarah Ibbetson, 41, from Leeds, was on maternity leave as a dental nurse when she won £3,013,767 on July 20, 2002.

Her first two purchases – with husband Aldan, 41 – were a Mercedes-Benz and a Porsche. They paid for both vehicles on a debit card.

The couple, who have three children, also made it on to the bottom of Sunday Times Rich List and started their own number plate business.

Mrs Cockings bought 'boob jobs' for her siblings(AP)

The mum who bought breast implants for all the family

Sarah Cockings, from Whitley Bay near Newcastle, said she continues to live a “very normal life” despite winning £3m on April 30 2005.

The 36-year-old said she went back to university to study after her win and later purchased “boob jobs” for her two sisters Alex and Emma, and herself.

She lives with her partner and her three children Bobby, Otto and Sadie in the house she purchased after the win.

The woman who won more than the lottery

Trish Emson, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, won £1,747,728 on October 25 2003.

At the time she had been saving for IVF treatment after trying for a baby for five-and-a-half years with her partner Graham Norton, 49.

She said: “A few weeks after our win, we were invited to an England rugby game but the Champagne made me feel sick. Two weeks later, we discovered I was pregnant.”

The 49-year-old said she bought her son Benjamin, who is now 15, a babygro that read: “Millionaire in training”.

The man who thought he was getting bad news

Ben Woods from Liverpool said his parents were “white with shock” after they checked his numbers and realised he had won £2,485,736 on February 21 2004.

On the day of his win he was single, living at home and had gone to the pub after finishing his shift as a railway guard.

“Dad said he needed to talk to me alone in the toilets and I thought: ‘What have I done?’ I was sure I was about to be told off,” the 38-year-old said.

Mr Woods said the money has paid for 12 trips to New York for his parents and new property. He is now a stay-at-home father, living with his wife Leanne and their three children.​

One 50-year-old celebrated with a KFC

The fast food celebration

Mother-of-two Geraldine Bradley said her first thought after winning £3,570,063 on March 11 2006 was she needed to get her ironing done before the press came round.

The 50-year-old, who lives in Gwynnon, Llanarthne, south-west Wales, with husband Christopher, 48, said her first purchase was a £9.99 KFC to celebrate.

It was followed by a new Mercedes-Benz four months later, she said.They now live in a four-bed house with three reception rooms, a snooker room, a maze and a lake.

The mum who bought a ticket as an afterthought

Kerri-Ann Robinson, 41, from Stevenage, said “everything went blurry” when she realised she had won £2,543,691 on January 24 2007.

She said she purchased a Lucky Dip card for the Lotto draw as an “afterthought” while buying her daughter blackcurrant juice.

"I went from wearing costume jewellery to buying the real thing,” she said, adding: "I married Tony in 2010 in a dream wedding and walking down the aisle was one of the most magical moments of my life.”

The single mum working three jobs and battling cancer

Tracy Field said she was a “struggling” single mother who had been diagnosed with cancer before her £2,561,513 win on July 30 2008.

The 51-year-old, who lives in a four-bed house in Benfleet, Essex, was working three jobs at the time, servicing vending machines, cleaning and delivering catalogues.

On the night she won, the mother-of-two said she went to Tesco at midnight in her pyjamas and bought a box of Bonio dog biscuits, because she “couldn’t think of what else to buy”.

She later used her winnings to buy a £430,000 home and properties for her two children.

The mum who became a racing champion

Susan Herdman, from Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, said she could barely afford her heating bills before she won £1,182,714 on January 16 2010.

The 51-year-old, who was a single mother to her son Jake at the time, said she carried on working at the hair salon she owned for nine months after the win.

“I picked up a magazine in the salon and read a story about a woman who’d had a perfect life and suddenly diedIt was a light bulb moment. I sold my salon two days later and never looked back.” she said.

She said she turned her focus to autograss racing, eventually winning a national championship in 2016 and 2017 and now lives with her partner Andrew.

The pensioners who toured the world

Geoffrey Bennette, 70, who lives near Blackburn in Lancashire, won £3,530,707 on June 18 2011.

Mr Bennette said he had recently retired as a manager at Bolton Council when he became a winner with his 63-year-old wife Hilary.

He said they have since explored South Africa, Scandinavia, India, New Zealand and Australia, where they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.

The daughter who was gifted the ticket by her sick dad

Libby Elliot from Aberdeenshire said her winning ticket was paid for by her father, Tony Elliot, who was in hospital at the time.

The 57-year-old won £2,159,664 on August 18 2012 from a £2 Lucky Dip.

She is now travelling the world following her father’s death before Christmas last year and her four children leaving home.

The millionaire whose health improved

Dione Buss from Bridgwater in Somerset won £1,888,630 on September 28 2013 shortly after returning to work at the local council following sick leave.

Mrs Buss, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after the birth of her daughter Harriet, said winning the jackpot had improved her health as her condition was made worse by stress.

The 53-year-old, who lives with her husband Richard, 54, said she has since visited the Great Wall of China and recently celebrated her daughter’s wedding.

The winner who took his 'lads' on holiday and met a wife

Matt Myles, from Hereford, said he suffered a panic attack when he was presented with a £1 million cheque after winning the EuroMillions raffle on April 8 2014.

The 33-year-old said he immediately quit his job and flew to Bali with seven friends on what was the “first of many lads’ holidays”.

He then met his wife Stacy, who fell pregnant while the couple were travelling around the world.

The couple, who are expecting a second child, now live in a converted chapel with their son Jude.Mr Myles said he is planning to buy more land to create a football pitch for his children.

The winner who lives in the same house

Anne Canavan, from Northern Ireland, still lives in the same four-bed house she owned before winning £1,054,000 on August 28 2015.

The 58-year-old said she had been washing her car on the afternoon of the draw and told her neighbour “it’s about time someone from around here won the lottery”.

She said since winning she has spent £50,000 improving her house and purchased four other properties as investments. She also designs and invents new products, with 17 innovations currently in development.

The millionaire who still works as a roofer

Jamie Heavens, from Bournemouth, bought himself a business after winning £1 million on a scratchcard on September 9 2016.

The 26-year-old, who lives with his wife Danielle and their son Hughie, was working as a roofer for a family firm when he won.

He had been sent to refuel a truck by his uncle and purchased a winning Millionaire Riches scratchcard at a petrol station.

He later climbed on to a roof he was working on to get signal and called Camelot to confirm his winnings.

Mr Heavens, who still works, said some of the money was used to pay for his £25,000 wedding.

The council estate mum who now sends her children to private school

Bev Middleton, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, said she was in debt, living on a council estate and “struggling” to raise her four children when she won £14,509,500 on February 17 2017.

With two autistic children, the 40-year-old, who was on benefits, said she purchased a house “five minutes up the road” so her children could be closer to the school they attend.

“I rang to cancel my benefits and the lady nearly dropped the phone when I said I’d won the lottery,” she said. “One of the best things I’ve been able to do is send my son, who struggles socially, to private school.”

She said since starting at the school her son, Kian, is no longer bullied and is on the rugby team.

Miss Middleton , who now lives with her fiance Colin Brandon and her children, said she also paid £7,000 for a gastric sleeve last year that helped her go from 17 stone in weight to 11 stone.

The winner who named his child after the competition

Plasterer Arron Walshaw from Ossett in West Yorkshire named his second daughter Lottie after winning £1 million on July 11 2018.

The 33-year-old initially thought he had been pranked when he checked the results against his ticket, which was stuck to his fridge door.

Within three weeks he purchased a property with his fiance Ceri Hall, 24, and one month after winning they had their second daughter.

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