EVEN BEFORE the customary spraying of the Champagne bottle at a phalanx of photographers made it “official”, Bev Doran had started to settle into her millionaire’s lifestyle.
Her cheque from Camelot for a gratifying £14.5m had not yet arrived, so she borrowed £1,000 from a friend and went on a weekend spree in Harrogate. It made a change, she said, from her usual haunt of Morrisons’ cafe.
The hotel had four stars, the food came à la carte and the wine at £25 a bottle. She went to a spa, and had a facial, a pedicure and a manicure.
But then came the “dreadful” Turkish bath.
“I had to go in a plunge pool,” said Ms Doran, a mother of four from West Yorkshire. “It’s not the nicest thing, whether you’ve got money or not.”
The Champagne was another one off. Fine for spraying but not for drinking - she’s allergic to the stuff and it turns her “red like a lobster” if she touches a drop.
Ms Doran, 37, cut a modest figure as she talked about her good fortune today. She had begun the day by cancelling the £230-a-week benefits payment on which she has relied for the past two years. The benefits lady nearly dropped the phone when told the reason, she said.
The next step would be to hunt for a home bigger than the three-bedroom council house she currently occupies in Shipley, near Bradford. That, she said, would secure the future of her children, aged five to 17.
The one outward sign of her new wealth was a £500 charm bracelet she had bought at Pandora in Harrogate. “It has five charms which tell my life story,” she said.
“I got charms for my children, for love and family and for my new wealth. And one that says, ‘Sometimes you got to fall before you can fly’.”
Her own journey had been a rollercoaster, she admitted. She had suffered from depression, worrying what would become of her children, should anything happen to her.
“I’ve been there like most people. I’ve struggled,” she said. “It’s overwhelming to think that I won’t have to struggle again. I’m still waiting for someone to come and burst my bubble.”
Ms Doran, who has been single for seven months, having parted from the father of her three youngest, had to give up her job as a receptionist to care full time for two of her children after they were diagnosed with autism within a few months of each other.
She learned of her windfall in bed on Saturday morning, when an email from the National Lottery suggested she check her account online.
“I was still waking up when I logged in,” she said. “I could see the jackpot amount but couldn’t work out what I’d won.”
She ran into the bedroom of her 17 year-old son, who, after weighing up the situation, put in a request for £3m. It was denied.
“I don’t know what I’m going to spend the money on and I don’t know who I’m going to help,” she said. “But, obviously, people are going to benefit from it. I won’t be keeping it all to myself. The main thing is that my children are going to be fine.”
This afternoon, neighbours and friends helped load many of Ms Doran’s old belongings into a yellow skip outside her house on.
One man living nearby said: “It looks like she’s getting rid of all her old stuff. I think someone down the street is sorting it out so people who need something can have it.”
The man said it was wrong to say people were just helping themselves to Ms Doran’s old things.
He said: “It’s one of the best streets on this estate. Lots of people want to go onto this street. But would you stay living here if you’d won that much money?
“I think it’s good she’s won because it shows you it’s not a fiddle. You see people winning who’ve already got money. Here you’ve got someone deserves it, who needs it. It’s nice.”
Ms Doran, whose windfall came from the EuroMillions draw, was one of three jackpot winners celebrating multimillion-pound windfalls.
Some 90 miles further north, best friends Paula Barraclough, 45, and Lorraine Smith, 54, were explaining how they won £7.6m each in Saturday’s draw.
Mrs Smith, a care home cook, whose husband died six years ago, bought the lucky dip ticket only because she was waiting for a late-running bus.
The Sunderland couple, who call each other Polly and Lolly, have previously put £25 wins towards a joint holiday fund.
This time, instead of going towards a trip to the Greek islands, the win will allow the friends of 17 years standing to fly first class to Las Vegas.
Mrs Smith recalled that before buying the ticket, she and her 23 year-old son, a mechanic, had scraped together just enough for a Chinese takeaway. They were both “skint” until payday, she said.