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From Lottery Wins to Big Business

When a big lottery win comes along, the urge to go out and spend, spend, spend is there. For some winners though, they see their windfall as an opportunity to change their lives and start a business. We look at five winners who decided to not just treat themselves and others but also launch their own businesses.

Trampoline Time

They say that Friday the 13th can be an unlucky daw. Welshman Nigel Willets doesn’t believe that as it was on a Friday 13th six years ago that he won £1m playing EuroMillions. You could say his life since then has seen a lot of ups and downs.

That’s because some of his winnings were used to open the BUZZ Trampoline parks in Swansea and Cardiff. He also helped out his relatives paying for holidays around the world and bought a new car. Talking about his win, Nigel said: “When you win this amount of money people think you’re going to be a different person. Your life does change but I’m still the person that I’ve always been.”

A Driving Success

It was just three days before Christmas in 2007 that Jason Fry won $14m playing the Florida Lottery. Life had been tough financially before his windfall, but he has put his winnings to good use. He bought a new Cadillac Escalade and took his friends to Orlando to see the Citrus Bowl American Football match.

However, he wanted to use his winnings for business ventures. This has included purchasing a World 2 Driving Range in Fort. It makes him an extra $300,000 in annual revenue, not bad considering the lease – or “golf membership” as he calls it – only cost $50,000. Another driving range that form part of a fun park.  Fry describes himself as being “over ambitious” and has also bought a Batteries Plus store in Fort Myers that has been a great success leading to more franchise rights being acquired.

From Perms to Pigs

English woman Susan Herdman was already running a hair salon when winning a £1.2m UK Lotto prize in 2010.  To say her life has changed since then is the understatement of the year. The lottery winner now buys second-hand clothes from charity shops and runs a pig farm in Herefordshire with her partner. It’s a job that sees her up early in the mornings and almost always smelling of pigs.

Despite that, she loves being a pig farmer and said: “Winning the lottery was amazing but the first time I brought a piglet into the world, I felt I’d hit the jackpot.” This year saw continuing to help those in her local area. Sue gave away potatoes to those who had been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. Just think, buying a ticket from the Lottery24 site could make you a millionaire, would you become a pig farmer though?

Success in the Subway

American Yancy Hicks had spent 26 years working at McDonalds. When he won a $1m lottery prize, he decided to use his increased bank balance to become a franchise owner. He left the burgers behind though and instead owns a Subway franchise in Illinois, USA. His winnings have also been put to good use by paying for his daughter’s university fees and buying a new house.

Money Can’t Buy You Love

Using your lottery winnings to start a new business does have its risks though. Rob Gibney from Grimsby in England can testify to that. He won a £7.5m UK Lotto jackpot in 1998 but has gone from buying a mansion to a five-bed semi-detached house.

He did spend a lot of his winnings and his mansion famously included a swimming pool that had on the bottom his winning numbers. He invested in 14 properties, three racehorses and began his own sheet metal company. The big winner also regularly dressed up as Father Christmas entertaining the children at a local hospital.

Mr Gibney went through an expensive divorce but now he has a new partner and couldn’t be happier. “Love is priceless,” he says. “I wouldn’t swap it for anything. People may say I’ve got less now than I did then, but they’re wrong. I’ve got more because I found love.”

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