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National Lottery 25th anniversary: Where are Kent's winners now?

ByRebecca Tuffin

We all dream of winning the lottery - but what is it actually like when you get the winning numbers?

It's been 25 years since the National Lottery was established, so we caught up with several lucky people in Kent who've bagged a win over the years, to see what they've been up to.

Lottery winners from Kent over the years
Lottery winners from Kent over the years

Winning £1 million in the Euro Millions lucky dip was the saving grace for East Farleigh couple Wayne and Desiree Home in 2014.

A few years previous, Mrs Home had life-threatening cancer and Mr Home lost his job. The pair suffered financial ruin and lost their dream home in Tonbridge.

"We hit absolutely rock bottom," said Mrs Home. "All we could afford was a mobile home."

They had been living on a Tonbridge park side for a year when they won their fortune.

"It was our lucky time, simple as that." said Mr Home.

Wayne and Desiree Home speak about winning the lottery

The first thing the couple, both 61, did was give a third of it away to family and friends including their three children.

They also bought a converted pump house in East Farleigh which their friends had recently renovated.

Mr Home added: "The location is idyllic, we love it there. And we're only working part time now so it's even better."

He now works as a Halfords driver and Mrs Home is clerk and financial officer for East Farleigh Parish Council.

Ted and Marilyn Newton
Ted and Marilyn Newton

"Our lives are taken care of, and now it's just about looking after our family," added Mr Home.

The married couple had around £200,000 left, which they are confident will "keep them ticking over".

The first thing Ted Newton did when he found out he'd won £7.9 million was take the dog for a walk to calm down.

The 79-year-old from Dartford won the huge sum along with his wife, Marilyn and three children 10 years ago.

He had just been made redundant and so the win couldn't have come at a better time.

Winners from across the south gathered at Knole Park to celebrate The National Lottery's 25th anniversary
Winners from across the south gathered at Knole Park to celebrate The National Lottery's 25th anniversary

Since becoming millionaires, the pair have bought a second home just outside of Dover and now live between there and Dartford.

They've also been on plenty of exotic holidays including Ecuador, Australia and Tahiti.

Mrs Newton said: "The whole experience has been completely positive and it hasn't changed us. We still think about whether we need to buy something first because it's ingrained in us.

"Lots of the money has been put away in the bank and we just want to make sure the children are okay - who are being equally as sensible with their cash."

Since Stephen Cole won a "life-smoothing" sum of £280,000 in July, he claims to have bought just one item for himself - a rare Queen Victoria £5 Orange Postal Stamp.

Stephen Cole speaks about winning the lottery

The 65-year-old from Tunbridge Wells said: "I've always wanted one since I was little, they're very rare and it's now sitting very prettily at the bottom of my album.

"I didn't really want anything else."

Mr Cole was left with multiple broken bones after a car crash two years ago and gave his elder daughter Lizzie some money to thank her for looking after three of his seven children while he spent time in hospital.

The software engineer will use the rest of the money to support his children, keeping most of it safe in a hedge fund.

He added: "I've got to pay for cars and driving lessons and we'll also be able to go on nice holidays."

Sarah and Mick Taylor
Sarah and Mick Taylor

Mick and Sarah Tyler won £1 million just over a year ago.

Neither of the Snodland pair have given up work since bagging the jackpot - Mrs Tyler is a legal team assistant in London and her husband is an air conditioning engineer working across Kent.

Mr Tyler, 36, said: "Staying in employment has kept us grounded. It's a lot of money and you've got to be careful and we plan to continue working."

With their big bundle of cash, the pair have bought a house and were also able to afford their dream wedding and honeymoon travelling the USA.

Mrs Tyler, 34, added: "We have never wished we didn't win. The National Lottery has been so supportive and always keep in touch with us, making sure we are okay.

Carly Wiggett and Becky Witt
Carly Wiggett and Becky Witt

"Our family and friends have also been very supportive - we've been so lucky."

With their remaining winnings, the couple are thinking of maybe using it to start up a business together, but they're not sure what in yet.

Best friends Carly Wiggett and Becky Witt, both originally from Dartford, won £336,000 between them in 2013.

They were community police officers at the time, which Miss Witt continues to do today.

They've both now bought homes with their individual partners.

"We've invested it in houses and practical things so it hasn't frittered away over the years.", said Carly.

Rebecca added: "It was tempting to spend it on rubbish. I thought about getting a Range Rover then I thought no, I don't need one of them, I need to move out and get a house. It was definitely the best decision.

"We didn't win an amount that changed people around us and it hasn't had any negative affect on our lives."

Over the last 25 years, The National Lottery has made 5,500 millionaires across the UK and has awarded £71 billion in prize money.

Since November 1994, £40bn has been raised for good causes and around £30m is raised every week.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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