EuroMillions: What happened to previous record winner who bagged £161m jackpot?

·4-min read
EuroMillions: What happened to previous record winner who bagged £161m jackpot?

A lucky ticket-buyer has become richer than footballers Harry Kane and Paul Pogba, thanks to a £184m EuroMillions jackpot prize.

Before claiming their newfound fortune, the winner will first have to go through a validation process before they decide whether to go public or remain anonymous.

Some 80 per cent of big lottery winners in the UK stay anonymous, according to Camelot, the organisation which runs the UK National Lottery. However, the previous record EuroMillions winners did decide to come forward.

In 2011, Scottish husband and wife Colin and Chris Weir, from Largs in Ayrshire, were revealed as the winners of a £161m prize.

The couple, who have been married for 30 years and have two children, were catapulted into 430th place in that year’s Sunday Times Rich List, not far below David and Victoria Beckham.

 (PA)
(PA)

On their win, Mr Weir, who was 64 years old at the time, said: “When we first realised we had women, it felt like a dream.

“Everything went into slow motion. But it feels like a good thing; something we should not be afraid of but for us to enjoy with the children.

“All our lives we have lived within our means and been comfortable. We appreciate that this money brings about a whole new life for us and our family.

“We now have so many new opportunities to explore but we won’t rush it. For us, it will be a gradual change with choices to be made.”

The couple planned to spend their winnings on new homes, cars and travel opportunities.

Mr Weir passed away suddenly eight years later from sepsis and a kidney injury, shortly after he and his wife divorced – but not before spending half of his £80m share of the prize.

As planned, Mr Weir ended up with a varied property portfolio, including £3.5m worth of property on the Isle of Man.

In June 2018, he bought a £1.1m seafront property in Ayr, the second home he bought, after signing over ownership of a £3.5m mansion near Troon in South Ayrshire to his ex-wife.

At the time of his passing, he had a £10,000 stake in Irn-Bru and more than £20,000 invested in Greggs.

His other investments included stakes in Microsoft – £20,368, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton – £19,230, Estée Lauder – £19,813, Tesco, – £19,562, AG Barr, creators of Irn-Bru – £10,040 and bakery chain Greggs – £22,950.

A lifelong supporter of Partick Thistle Football Club, he also bought a 55 per cent share in the club a month before he died. His investment helped set up the Thistle Weir Youth Academy and a section of Firhill Stadium was named the Colin Weir Stand.

In 2014, he also gave millions to the SNP party as a supporter of the pro-independence campaign.

His will showed that he had furniture, jewellery and artworks valued at around £212,000, as well as four cars worth just under £100,000.

 (PA)
(PA)

He also had a £400,000 stake in tax-advantaged Enterprise Investment Schemes, where people can buy into small and medium companies for generous tax relief.

Mr Weir also shared around £40m with his friends and family as well as donating to charity. Alongside his ex-wife, the couple spent £5m buying houses for close friends as well as setting up bursaries for talented young people in the first year they got their winnings.

Mrs Weir also bought properties for all her five siblings, in addition to her purchase of an £850,000 four-bedroom detached home in 23 acres of woodland in the Largs suburbs.

Together, the couple set up the Weir Charitable Trust to support projects promoting health, animal welfare, and public participation in sport. They also paid £102,000 for the National Sports Training Centre in Inverclyde.

The couple also gave a five-figure lump sum for a new prosthetic leg for 13-year-old Kieran Maxwell from County Durham, who had lost part of his leg to a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

Mr Weir’s will revealed that the remainder of his estate, valued at £40.8m, will be managed by a discretionary trust.

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