The windfall, in January 2000, thrust Barbara and her husband, Ray, into the public spotlight, but they eschewed the familiar “spend, spend, spend” mantra and said they never once regretted their decision.
“Barbara said that what we have to do with this is to help a lot of people – and that’s what we did,” said Ray.
“Giving so much of it away never bothered us one bit and we would do it all again. We enjoyed every bit of it and we made a lot of people happy.”
Having secured the future of their three children, Mark, Shaun and Amanda, the couple began identifying good causes, and the beneficiaries of their generosity could be counted in their hundreds.
Large amounts went to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, where Barbara had worked for 22 years as a night shift support worker.
“We actually bought a £9,000 scanner for the ward Barbara used to work on,” said Ray.
“She always used to struggle to find one when she worked there and said that even a few extra minutes was a long time for someone who was in pain.”
But it was their gift of £12,500 to 60 veterans of the 1944 Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy which, he said, gave them most pleasure,. The money financed their trip to a reunion event in 2003, with Barbara and Ray seeing the old soldiers off at the airport.
Their only indulgence had been a move from Jordanthorpe to Whirlow to facilitate Barbara’s dream of a house with bay windows.
She is survived by Ray and the children, and by six grandchildren.