Burn the begging letters, previous winners tell £115m lottery couple
THE Lucky EuroMillions couple who plan to share their £115 million windfall have been advised by previous lottery winners to “burn” any letters if they do not recognise the sender.
Patrick and Frances Connolly have pledged to divide up their EuroMillions fortune between as many as 50 friends, relatives and charities after claiming the £114,969,775 prize.
Described by neighbours as a quiet unassuming couple, Patrick, 54, and Frances, 52, became the fourth largest lottery winners in UK history when they took the rare step of going public on Friday, a decision taken by just 15 per cent of winners.
The Connollys, from Moira, Co Down, have received praise for their generosity as they prepare to help those closest to them people become overnight millionaires.
However, former lottery winners warned the couple they should now expect an onslaught of “begging letters” as others attempt to cash in on their newfound wealth.
Former bus driver Peter Lavery, 56, from Belfast, said he was inundated with financial requests after his £10million lottery win in 1996.
“I got well over 9,000 letters asking for help, money and so on,” he told The Belfast Telegraph. “My best advice? Burn them, ignore them, don’t open anything if you don’t know who it’s from. Just don’t be drawn in to that.”
Brian Caswell, 83, a retired sales manager from Bolton, Lancs, also cautioned against responding to letters after he scooped £24,951,269 on the EuroMillions in 2009.
He said: “We still get begging letters, that never ceases, they have to remember that begging letters is a business. Out of every 50 maybe five are genuine. What’s the cost of a stamp, these days 50p? We had one from someone who lived just around the corner from us – at a meeting with other winners we found out the same guy had written to all of them.”
Simon Horne, from Camelot, said: “This is a very big win. I think the presumption on the amount of begging letters is at times an urban myth, I’ve known significant lottery winners who have never received a letter.”