EuroMillions bonanza: Lottery winner’s advice – take a holiday

Peter Lavery scooped £10m on the British lottery, but received 14,000 begging letters

Big lottery winner Peter Lavery’s immediate advice for the €175 million EuroMillions Irish winners is do nothing for the moment, but head off on an exotic holiday.

Mr Lavery was a Belfast bus driver when he made headline news in 1996 after winning £10.2 million in the British lottery.

While it was a considerably lower amount than the eyewatering riches the latest winner or winners will collect, it was a big story at the time and put Mr Lavery under the media spotlight.

“My advice would be for them to take themselves off for a week or two to get their head around the win and not to be doing too much in the meantime,” said the 56-year-old who is enjoying a relaxing cruise in the Caribbean right now.


As for going public, Mr Lavery said they should do whatever they are “comfortable with” – but that details of their cash bonanza would emerge.

“They will have told someone and it’s only a matter of time before it will come out. So is it better to come out sooner or later? It is probably better sooner rather than later,” he said.

He was delighted with the latest major win which follows on the €127 million EuroMillions jackpot won on New Year's Day by Patrick and Frances Connolly from Moira, Co Down.

"I think the people of Ireland should be happy for them," said Mr Lavery.

With great wealth comes . . .

He was earning £300 a week when he landed his prize. So he took his own advice at the time and left Northern Ireland on an exotic holiday to "clear my head".

On his return the local post office in east Belfast's Short Strand had 14,000 letters waiting for him, nearly all of the begging .

He is sure the latest winners will face a similar surge of mail. And his advice here is: “return to sender.”

Mr Lavery added that there also would be a lot of professional people offering financial advice. “They will have to be the judge and jury on that themselves,” he said.

Again his immediate advice is for the southern winners “to do absolutely nothing, only sit back and take stock. They have all the time in the world to make all these decisions.”

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times