Mil­lion­aires toast liv­ing in a lucky charm county

Lottery: Lo­cal win­ners cel­e­brate draw’ s 25th birth­day at spe­cial cer­e­mony

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY CALUM PETRIE

The good for­tune ex­pe­ri­enced by three north­east lottery mil­lion­aires has proved a lucky charm for many others.

The win­ners came to­gether at Aberdeen’s Duthie Park yes­ter­day to help the Na­tional Lottery mark its 25th birth­day.

It has cre­ated 47 mil­lion­aires in the AB post­code area since its in­cep­tion in 1994, with the north-east prov­ing one of the UK’s luck­i­est re­gions.

Since 1994, 276 prizes of at least £50,000 have been banked by play­ers with an AB post­code, in­clud­ing the 47 mil­lion­aires.

“We’re in a very for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion whereby we can help peo­ple”

Among those toast­ing the lottery yes­ter­day were Lau­rencekirk cou­ple Fred Hig­gins, 69 and wife Les­ley, 58, whose lives changed for­ever af­ter scoop­ing a £58 mil­lion jack­pot in July 2018.

De­spite their own vastly im­proved fi­nan­cial cir­cum­stances, they be­lieve their win has first and fore­most given them the op­por­tu­nity to help others.

“We’re in a very for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion whereby we can help peo­ple and make a dif­fer­ence to others,” said Mrs Hig­gins.

Mr Hig­gins added: “We tend not to seek pub­lic­ity be­cause it’s not about us, it’s about what we can do for other peo­ple.”

Af­ter buy­ing a house and cars for them­selves, they then shared their win­nings with rel­a­tives.

Much of their time th­ese days is taken up with help­ing the Na­tional

Lottery raise aware­ness of good causes and the cou­ple are in the process of set­ting up a char­i­ta­ble trust to help those in need in the lo­cal area.

Also mark­ing 25 years of the Na­tional Lottery was Libby El­liot, 57, from Aberdeen.

Since win­ning £2.2m in 2012, Miss El­liot has sim­i­larly spent much of her time help­ing good causes, in­clud­ing chil­dren’s hos­pices and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

When the youngest of her four grown-up chil­dren left home ear­lier this year, how­ever, her win­nings also af­forded her the op­por­tu­nity to travel the world.

She said: “I be­came an empty-nester this year so have trav­elled a lot – Tel Aviv, Dubai, Bangkok, Phoenix and Las Ve­gas. I flew over the Grand Canyon, made my way to Min­nesota, Salt Lake City and Buenos Aires – where I danced tango – and on to Mon­te­v­ideo and then Brazil.

“This has been my travel year. Any­one who has said ‘come and visit’, I’ve done it. I’m off to Viet­nam next.”

Se­nior win­ners’ ad­vi­sor at the Na­tional Lottery, Andy Carter, said: “It’s fan­tas­tic to see Aberdeen­shire among some of the luck­i­est post­codes in the UK.”

Pho­to­graph by Scott Bax­ter

CHEERS: Libby El­liot with Fred and Les­ley Hig­gins as they toast Aberdeen­shire’s 47 lottery mil­lion­aires.

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