'Everything We Do Is Lovely' One Loves Champagne Lunches and Surround Sound for the Hot Tub, the Others Babysitting and Cleaning Floors for the Elderly - Claire Rees Meets Three Very Different EuroMillionaires

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), March 6, 2009 | Go to article overview

'Everything We Do Is Lovely' One Loves Champagne Lunches and Surround Sound for the Hot Tub, the Others Babysitting and Cleaning Floors for the Elderly - Claire Rees Meets Three Very Different EuroMillionaires


Byline: Claire Rees

THESE three women might all be millionaires, but they have very different ideas about spending their cash.

South Wales sisters Ceri Howe, Jacqui Wood and Christine Mills are three of a six-strong family syndicate who shared a pounds 6.9m fortune with two other members of the family in October 2007-and one of them is more keen than the others to live like a true lottery winner.

But it's not Ceri, 46, who bought the winning ticket from the Paul Brothers newsagent opposite her old house on Habershon Street, Splott, Cardiff.

She has only modestly upgraded to a home in Windsor Green, Ely, and still works as a cleaner for old people.

Jacqui, 55, finished her job as a BT telephonist to travel and now looks after her grandchildren, but 53-year-old Christine, mum to Robert, 30, and Andrew, 26, is living the high life.

"We call her Linda Lusardi," joked Ceri, a grandmother-of-two who says she has no plans to give up cleaning.

"We have to rein her in."

While her sisters shy away from detailing their gains for fear of appearing like "show-offs", equally grounded Christine talks excitedly about her hot tub with "marine stereo" and landscaped garden - "it had to be air-lifted over the house in the biggest crane they had".

The grandmother-of-five retired from her job as an occupational therapist 10 months after winning - husband John waited just 48 hours - and she doesn't think she should be ashamed to say being her is "lovely".

"I thought I would miss my job but I don't," she said.

"I love my retirement, I love my house."

All three treated themselves to new cars and Christine, of Thornhill, Cardiff, traded in her Vauxhall Vectra for a sensible Corsa - but there's a Chrysler in the drive "that looks like a Bentley", belonging to John.

"I like eating in nice restaurants," she said.

"I love champagne, I never used to drink champagne, and I love cocktails.

"I like shopping on-line and if I go a day without spending I want to spend again.

"I don't do house work-I've got someone to do my cleaning and ironing.

"All I do is press the on button on the washing machine - I just need to get someone to do my shopping now."

While the cash had changed all their lives overnight, all three are keen to point out the current financial climate reminds them how different it could have been.

Bluebirds fan Ceri's biggest extravagance lately has been the wedding of her daughter, Kelly, 24, to Jamie, 32, at Cardiff's Hilton hotel on December 27 but she's still a sensible spender.

The Christmas-themed wedding with 110 guests took a year to plan and while Ceri may have sent the couple on honeymoon to Las Vegas and Hawaii - there was no wasting money on a designer mother-of-the-bride outfit - instead she opted for a green dress from high-end high street store Phase Eight.

She said: "The money came at just the right time, things were really difficult. I've got a season ticket for Cardiff City but it was rare if I could afford to go to a game before.

"People are losing their houses and we feel for them-we could have been in exactly the same situation.

"We're ordinary people and proof that people like us do win - it would be lovely if someone from around here won again. …

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