Winning a teddy put end to my contest addiction

FEW of us, it s safe to say, have not indulged in day-dreaming about winning big on the lottery. But nearly �25 million! I refer of course to that amiable allotment-lover who hit the Euro jackpot a short while ago. Quite literally a chap whose favourite o

FEW of us, it's safe to say, have not indulged in day-dreaming about winning big on the lottery. But nearly �25 million!

I refer of course to that amiable allotment-lover who hit the Euro jackpot a short while ago.

Quite literally a chap whose favourite occupation keeps both feet firmly on the ground, his spectacular coup gave the rest of us the chance to speculate just what we would do in his place.

Count it, was the cryptic comment of a friend. Obviously, counting the pennies is something he will never need to do again.


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While it's one we would all like to face, the problem with such a staggering sum must be knowing quite where to start. A vast amount like that leaves little out of reach. You could do something outrageously costly and still be mega-rich afterwards. On the other hand, the whole bundle would go in a flash should you opt for charitable work, like building a hospital or university.

Most of us, I imagine, would first settle for seeing friends and relatives all right. Although with that kind of cabbage there'd be a lot more of them than you ever knew you had.

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A Recorder colleague once had a �5,000 scratch card windfall. Being of generous nature, she obliged with a no-strings �1,000 loan to a man she'd long known, who claimed a desperate and immediate need.

Now, she says sadly, he hurries off the other way when he sees her. That hurts the good soul almost as much as her unreturned grand. Nothing like filthy lucre to sabotage friendships.

When I was young there was great excitement at dad's work when one of them drew a horse with an Irish Sweep ticket for the Lincolnshire.

Whatever the odds on it were, the wise collective advice was to flog a half-share in the ticket pre-race for whatever he could get.

He did well with that, but was ever after sour to those well-meaning workmates when the nag won and he netted only half of the �26,000 he'd have wiped-up keeping the ticket to himself.

I'm speaking of 60-plus years ago when his �13,000 was a real packet. Enough for him to quit work and go into business with a shop of some kind. Knowing nothing about it, he went bust in two or three years. Money and old mates all gone.

In more recent times, I once ear-wigged a similar cautionary tale on a plane returning from a West Ham match in Europe.

Talk among the pressmen was of a fellow-scribbler who, with them on another recent trip, had scooped the local lottery prize. But the lavish do he'd promised them back in Blighty had not materialised. What they said about him must have set his ears ablaze!

My own luck has been modest, a tenner and seven lottery quid to date. But the one lucky strike that has come my way exposed Madam to some predictable cattiness at her company.

By chance one day I saw in our kitchen rubbish an entry form for a competition restricted to those in her line of work.

She'd inadvertently brought it home and binned it.

You had to write an advertising slogan, the prize being �1,500 of holiday vouchers.

Smoothing out the screwed-up form took me longer than scribbling a slogan on it before chucking the form back in the bin. I forgot about it, until a month or so later when Madam revealed she'd retrieved the form, entered the slogan as hers - and won!

Me being in the words business left her colleagues casting doubt over the winning slogan's origin, and she had to put up with snide remarks.

Not hard work when you're �1,500 of holiday to the good!

That beginner's luck infected me with the competition bug, and I entered all sorts, without Madam knowing.

The cat got comically out of the bag the morning the postman delivered a parcel containing an even smaller teddy bear - the sole reward I reaped from a crop of competitions.

Cue derisive laughter. It cured me of competitions.

To read about the near �25million winner's love of his allotment gave the story a nice, homely, "it won't change my life" touch.

In which case, will he still keep on doing the lottery? Go on, boy. Lightning can strike twice!

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