What Hampshire's millionaires have done since winning the National Lottery
It’s no secret that the PO postcode is lucky when it comes to the National Lottery.
We caught up with three of our region’s biggest winners to see how the £1m prize changed their life.
‘It just shows that you’ve got to be in it to win it!’
After winning £1m on a Monopoly classic scratchcard, Patrick and Paula Morling found a new lease of life.
Paula, 56, says: ‘We never thought in a million years it would happen to us.’
And the Havant couple thank their dog, Ollie, for the big win.
‘In November 2018, my husband Patrick went to the supermarket to get some dog food.
‘He came home and poked his head round the door and he handed me the scratchcard. I didn’t know what I was looking at.
‘And then he said we have won £1m. Next, he was on the phone to Camelot and I just heard him say “thank you very much”.
‘I knew it was real then. I had my head in my hands. It was a mix of excitement and fear of that amount of money.
‘Everyone at the lottery has been so good and helpful, from financial advice to support.’
Since winning the lottery, the Morlings have been able to pay for one of their daughter’s weddings and give their other daughter a deposit for a house. Patrick, who used to work as a storeman at a Gosport factory, and Paula, who is a lunchtime supervisor at a Havant school, have also been planning a trip of a lifetime to Canada.
And when disaster struck when their beloved dog Ollie fell ill and his treatment cost £5,000, the Morlings were thankful for picking up that scratchcard more than two years ago.
Paula adds: ‘We paid off our debts, have bought a car each and it’s been such a relief. We always used to worry about money.
‘My husband still buys them – he says he is building the fund up for other people.
‘You’ve got to be in it to win it. We never thought in a million years it would happen to us.
‘It was all because I forgot to pack a drink that I won £1m’
It’s been 16 years since Sharon and John Hall, from Waterlooville, won £1m on a £5 National Lottery scratchcard.
Sharon, 53, laughs as she explains that it was her own forgetfulness which led to the family winning such a huge sum of money. She says: ‘I was taking my young son Christopher to football practice but forgot to pack a drink. I nipped into a newsagent to get one and bought a scratchcard.
‘I was sat there at football practice and started scratching the first game. I had won three lots of £300,000 and another £100,000, taking us to one million. I was shaking.’
Sharon drove home and immediately told her husband John, 57, who works as a caretaker, about the scratchcard.
‘He told me to calm down and ring the number,’ says Sharon, laughing.
‘Camelot verified it and I had actually won one million pounds.
‘It was such a sliding doors moment. It was all because I forgot to pack a drink that I won one million pounds.’
Sharon, who now works as a Border Force researcher, served in the Royal Navy for 22 years and left two years after winning the lottery.
She explains: ‘Both me and John had a couple of years where we just looked after our children, Charlotte and Christopher, who are now 21 and 23.
‘We have been able to spend such quality time together as a family during our kids’ formative years.
‘We took them to London to see shows and museums. We went to Lapland which was just magical.
‘We moved to a house with a pool and I bought a Jaguar. We were able to go to New York for mine and John’s 10th wedding anniversary. It’s been absolutely wonderful.’
The Halls say winning £1m has changed their lives ‘immeasurably’.
‘I wouldn’t change the family time we have been able to spend together for the world. You can’t buy time,’ says Sharon, smiling.
‘I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the scratchcard’
On November 12, 2019, Kevin Francis could not believe his luck.
Nipping in to Fairfield Avenue Post Office in Bishopsfield Road, Fareham, with the intention to treat his partner Brenda to a scratch card, Kevin, 62, impulsively bought one for himself.
Soon after scratching the Merry Millions card, he realised the symbols matched. And from then on, his life has been a whirlwind.
The modest maintenance manager from Fareham says: ‘I wasn’t sure if I had actually won the money or not. They sent someone round to us who confirmed it.
‘I couldn’t believe the scratchcard, I had to keep checking it.’
Since he scooped the million-pound prize, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with potential holidays the Francis’ planned.
However, down-to-earth Kevin says: ‘Many people have plans of what they’re going to buy before they have even won. It’s good to stop and realise what you have already.
‘I’m still working. I have enjoyed being able to treat friends and family to presents and doing them favours.
‘It was there to be enjoyed and I wanted them to have it.’
Advising future lottery winners, Kevin adds: ‘I think every lottery winner should take their time but enjoy it. You have to be sensible too.
‘Everybody should have a go because you never know what might happen. The Portsmouth area has been so lucky recently too.’
What to do when you win big!
Camelot advisor, Kathy Garrett, guides you what to do when you win the lottery.
Don’t Rush: You didn’t have the money yesterday. There is rarely anything that needs doing now so take some time to plan and dream. Allow yourself some time to get used to the fact that you have won a substantial amount of money.
Take a holiday: If feasible and travel restrictions allow, we encourage winners to take a break. It doesn’t have to be the holiday of a lifetime, there is plenty of time (and money for that), just have a few days away to let it sink in.
Treat yourself: Buy yourself something you wouldn’t have justified buying previously. This can often help to make the win feel more real.
Take advice from legal and financial professionals: Surround yourself with a good team of professional people that you trust to help with managing your affairs. It is never nice to think about what will happen to your money when you are no longer around, but Wills and Powers of Attorney are really important documents to have.
Giving: Once you have taken advice, if you are going to give gifts, talk to the recipients first.
Look after yourself: Winning is a huge shock, take good care of your well-being.