Jackpot winners from Batley and Dewsbury celebrate the National Lottery’s 20th birthday

CHAMPAGNE STORIES Previous winners from our region celebraten 20 years of the National Lottery at West Yorkshire Playhouse.
CHAMPAGNE STORIES Previous winners from our region celebraten 20 years of the National Lottery at West Yorkshire Playhouse.
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Over the last 20 years the National Lottery has transformed the lives of hundreds of people, with seven figure sums of money the reward for the fortunate few who drew some very lucky numbers when they took a trip to the local newsagents.

Organisers of the Lottery this week held a ‘Where are they now’ style reunion event to catch up with past jackpot winners as the nationwide obsession marks its 20 year anniversary.

The story of Batley couple Graham and Amanda Nield, who won £6.6million in August last year, made national headlines when Graham spontaneously found the courage to propose to his other half upon realising he’d won big, having previously lost his nerve on a number of occastions.

The pair, who tied the knot in September, say that the winnings had been a big life-changer. “It’s great being financially secure,” 56 year-old Graham said. “We’ve looked after the kids and have got them all in their own properties so it’s really good.”

Amanda, 49, has been able to pack in work for good and devote her time to looking after her parents. “It’s been great,” she said. “Graham spends all his time playing golf now so I’ve become a golf widow - I hardly ever see him!”

It’s a familiar tale for Dewsbury winner Susan Crossland, whose husband Michael has taken up the pastime since they won £1.2million in 2008. The money has allowed them to have a seven bedroom house purposely built for them to live in with Susan’s three siblings in Mirfield.

50 year-old Susan said: “We looked at moving elsewhere but we decided that we were both Dewsbury born and bred so it was better to stick around.”

Like Amanda and Graham, Susan and Michael also took the step of tying the knot after their lucky numbers of 6, 9, 13, 18, 29, and 30 came through, getting married in 2010.

A brainchild of then Conservative Prime Minister John Major, the Lottery was set up in 1994 as a means of reinvesting cash into arts, culture and charity projects, with the golden carrot of creating multi-millionaires every couple of weeks.

The format has evolved over its lifespan and the prize money was altered last year after the price of a ticket rose to £2. Jackpots were increased although other prizes were brought down, with the award for matching five numbers being reduced from £100,000 to £50,000.