A COUPLE who won a £12.4million jackpot kept their winnings a secret before sending 30 cheques to their friends and family.
Sharon and Nigel Mather from Trafford, Greater Manchester, initially kept their EuroMillions winnings to themselves – before sharing some of the cash with their closest pals.
The pair won the life-changing £12.4million sum in 2010 when Nigel was a hotel manager and Sharon worked for the local council.
They picked up the lucky dip ticket while on holiday – and only discovered they had won when they returned home.
After celebrating their win, the pair first kept it a secret – before deciding to share the amazing news with their closest pals.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Sharon said: “It wasn’t about showing off.
“It was about helping the people close to us and not lying.”
When they started gifting some of their winnings to family and friends, they said the operation was something from the TV show “Secret Millionaire.”
She added: “My husband used to be a hotel manager and he made a spreadsheet and went round to about 30 friends and family’s houses and it was almost like Secret Millionaire.
“We made a little card and put a cheque in it and gave it to them.”
And when gifting the money, Sharon said that her husband Nigel made an important point for their family and friends.
Sharon added: “He said ‘whatever we have given you – because some we had maybe just met and just gave them a token – please don’t look at it in reflection of what we have won, just think of what difference that money will make to you’.
“We can’t give it all away because we needed to look after us and we had two young children.
“We’ve got the rest of our lives to go but wanted to make a difference to as many lives as we could along the way.”
As well as giving some of their winnings away to pals, the family also made their biggest donation to Manchester’s Francis House Hospice – a cause close to the couple.
Nigel is also now the chairman of local charity Stockdales – and they annually help organise fundraisers for them.
Speaking about the “surreal” day they won the sum, the couple said they celebrated with a Chinese takeaway and three Magners, which is what they had in the house at the time.
Sharon and Nigel’s first purchase with the money was a bungalow for Sharon’s dad – which was a “no brainer.”
And the couple said that they’ve bought up their sons to never brag about their winnings and always respect what others have.
Reece, 15, and Lewis, 12, were just three and one-year’s-old at the time of their family’s massive news.
Sharon said: “It was a while before we told them because they wouldn’t understand and I think kids at the school were questioning the boys.
“We have always said you respect what people have got, never brag, and never show off. We have just been blessed and been lucky.
“We have always said we class it as a responsibility to have that amount of money and we want to do good with it and not waste it or blow it.
“Even now at Christmas time, they don’t ask for anything silly. In fact, they probably get less because we don’t want to overly give them too much.
“Like being a parent, winning the lottery doesn’t come with a book. You are learning all the time.”
And 11 years on from the big win, the family still want to travel to Hawaii for Sharon’s 50th birthday – which has been delayed because of Covid.