“People always ask me what is the best thing I have bought with my lottery winnings, and I always answer ‘time’.”
Susan Herdman won £1.2m on the National Lottery in January 2010.
The money not only bought her time, it bought her security,
“I had just taken a 25-year mortgage out to buy a new house, I was a single mum and I ran my own hairdressing business. It was my responsibility to make sure the mortgage was paid on time every month and it was something I did worry about.
“The Lottery win took all that worry away, it meant I only ended up paying one month’s repayments as I was then able to pay the whole thing off.”
Sue has always done the National Lottery and still does. On the night she won in January 2010, she’d decided to stay in and was just cooking her supper when she saw the Lottery show was on.
“I paused it as I liked the quiz show that was on after the numbers were chosen and went back into the kitchen to get my dinner. When I went back in the TV had paused with the numbers up. I thought I had a couple of them and then I went to get my ticket and realised that I had six numbers.”
Sue rang the number of the back of her ticket and was told someone would ring her in the morning.
“I knew I had won but it had no idea how much. It was just my luck that it would have been the one night loads of people got six numbers.”
She couldn’t settle and so went down to the pub and did some karaoke.
“I didn’t tell anyone I had won and I kept my winning ticket down my bra,” says Sue.
But when she got back from the pub she checked on the internet and discovered she had won more than £1m.
“I didn’t jump around or go hysterical I just felt relieved more than anything.”
Sue’s numbers had originally been her dad’s but he had handed them over to her when he decided not to do the lottery any more.
She didn’t rush out and go a lavish holiday or buy an entire new wardrobe of clothes, this country women wasn’t going to waste her winnings.
Susan knew that in order to secure a future for her son Jake she needed to invest her win wisely.
So rather than buying something frivolous, Susan sold her hairdressing business and moved up to Yorkshire to help partner Andrew Hornshaw run the family pig farm.
“I had always been a country girl and even the hairdressers I owned and ran was in a remote part of Herefordshire. The lottery win meant that I could move up to Yorkshire with my Andrew to help him run the family pig farm which I just love.”
The win also allowed her to pursue her passion for Autograss racing.
“Both my parents were racers and I was born and bred on the race track,” explains Susan who is currently the Autograss women’s national champion.
“I had my first race at 14 – it’s in my blood and it is where I met Andrew. We had a long distance relationship before I won the Lottery and the win meant I could move up to be with him once my son Jake left school.”
May be it is her good fortune or just her nature but Susan also does a lot for charity. Now, along with her Autograss Allstars buddies, Susan has brought out a charity Christmas single which has already raised more than £23,000 for Cancer Research UK.
“There are more than 4,000 Autograss members nationally and it is really like one big family. We have always done things for charity such as a calendar and have raised more than £19,000 in the past.
“Last year one of our members Gareth Jones suggested doing a charity single, but the cost of actually producing it and the logistics of getting everyone together put us off,” adds Susan.
But this summer Susan decided that they should give it a go.
“I lost my nan to cancer and my dad is currently recovering from cancer thanks to all the research.
“Everyone knows someone or has lost someone to this terrible disease, including quite a lot of our members.”
They decided on recording two tracks – See You Again from the film The Fast and the Furious – “For obvious reasons,” says Susan – and Josh Groban’s To Where You Are.
“That song means such a to me and I know has helped a lot of people dealing with grief.”
They contacted a recording studio in Wales and thought it would cost around £3,000 to make the record.
Susan appealed to the Autograss community and four businesses came forward and offered £500 each and they then set about raising the remainder, but they needn’t have bothered.
When the man running the studio found out what they were doing he waived the fee as did the musical director who, as luck would have it, had just finished working with Josh Groban.
“That saved us another £10,000 which was unbelievable,” said Susan.
A total of 80 Autograss members volunteered to sing on the record which was recorded earlier this month.
The recording includes Susan’s son Jake who has recorded a solo line: “A bit like Live Aid,” says Susan who also put together a video to go with the single made up of all the Autograss members they have lost over the years.
She has put together a box set which includes the CD and DVD as well as other sponsored Autograss items which costs £20.
“I set out to raise around £5,000 but we have already raised £23,000 so I am really hoping that we can raise £30,000.,” says Susan.
TO buy a box set of Susan’s Christmas charity single visit www.autograssallstars.co.uk