BBC News

I won the lottery at 22, here's what happened next

Interview by Will Chalk
Newsbeat reporter

image copyrightJamie Heavens

"I got back in the truck, drove to a lay-by and scratched it off. There and then I won a million pounds."

Jamie Heavens, who's a roofer from Bournemouth, got lucky on a National Lottery scratchcard when he was 22.

And if you - or any of your mates - wouldn't want to be in his shoes, you're lying.

But then there's deciding what to spend it on - picking which mates would get some and which ones you'd have to disappoint.

Not to mention all those very real horror stories from people who say getting rich that quick didn't make them happy, it ruined their lives.

So what's it actually like winning big? And is it worth it?

On the 25th anniversary of the first ever National Lottery, we gave Jamie a ring to find out.

image captionYup - Jamie still works. He spoke to us on FaceTime from the back of his van

"I was on my way to work and my uncle asked me to fill up the truck with some fuel," says Jamie, who's memorised most of the tiny details of that day.

"The first petrol station wasn't accepting fuel cards, so then I moved on to the next one.

"I got into the queue, realised I'd picked up the wrong flavour Lucozade, went back and picked a different one - and then the guy in front bought the same scratchcard as me."

A few minutes later, Jamie had that "guy in front" to thank for the fact he held a winning card in his hand.

"I didn't believe it at first. I scratched off the numbers and it said I'd won a million quid. I think the only other time I've felt more wowed was when my son was born."

But he had a decision to make.

"I couldn't ring the National Lottery because the phone lines don't open until nine, so I thought I'd go to work.

"Got to the job. No signal."

It wasn't until Jamie was on top of a roof that he got a signal, phoned the helpline and received the confirmation that he was a millionaire.

image copyrightThe National Lottery

"It doesn't really sink in until the money hits your account. There's a sense of relief that you can go and do what you want to do."

But after a couple of early extravagances (a car and a wedding), Jamie insists he's been pretty sensible with his cash.

"People think I'm minted - that I'm cash rich and can just go and buy what I want every day. But it's not like that.

"I'm living a comfortable life now. I'm running my own business, I've got my own family, but it's not a case of if I want that £70,000 car, I'm just going to go out and spend it.

"I'm still money conscious about things. I live a normal day-to-day life, pay myself a normal wage and my wife goes to work two days a week.

"We bought a couple of properties, we don't have a mortgage on them. Money makes you more comfortable but it shouldn't change the way you live your life."

Jamie "helped out" a few of his friends and family with some money.

Now 25, he admits things might have been different had he won more cash, but says he's "lucky" his win doesn't seem to have changed his relationship with his mates.

They still buy him rounds when they're in the pub.

"I think people respect the fact that, yes I've come into a lot of money - but the guy's still grafting hard."

And, if you're wondering, he still buys scratch cards.

"Yeah, yeah if someone buys one in front of me I'm straight on it.

"The wife keeps nagging me: 'Stop spending money on the lottery because you're not going to win it again.'

"I'm like hang on a minute you said that before and look where we are now!"

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Related Topics

  • Bournemouth
  • National Lottery
  • Lottery
  • Money