Scottish couple toast record 185-million-euro lottery win

15th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Scottish couple out of work due to ill health were revealed Friday as Europe's biggest ever lottery winners, scooping 185 million euros (£162 million, $262 million) in the EuroMillions jackpot.

Colin Weir, 64, and his wife Chris, 55, who have been married for 30 years and live in the seaside town of Largs near Glasgow, claimed the prize after Tuesday's draw which followed a series of rollovers.

The prize catapaulted them into 430th place in this year's Sunday Times Rich List for Britain, nine places beneath footballer David Beckham and his fashion designer wife Victoria Beckham, who have an official fortune of £165 million.

"We were tickled pink," Chris Weir, a former psychiatric nurse, said as the couple faced the press for the first time after waiving their right to anonymity.

"I even had a glass of white wine, which is something I normally only do at Christmas. It really is unbelievable."

Colin Weir, a former TV cameraman and studio manager, appeared slightly dazed by the attention.

"When we first realised we had won, it felt like a dream. But it feels like a good thing; something we should not be afraid of but for us to enjoy with the children," he said.

The Weirs said they will buy homes for their daughter Carly, 24, a photography student, and their son Jamie, 22, who works in a call centre. Their children will also take their first driving lessons, they said.

They said they wanted to see the Great Wall of China and Uluru in Australia, as well as art galleries in Paris and Russia, while Colin, a fan of Spanish football, hopes to see Barcelona play from a personal box at the Camp Nou stadium.

The Weirs said they had both had several serious health conditions in recent years and have been unable to work.

Colin Weir suffered a leg injury and rheumatoid arthritis while Chris Weir worked in nursing for 37 years before quitting three years ago due to poor health.

The couple said they would have preferred not to go public but did not think they could keep their win secret, although they said they hoped their new-found wealth would not change them.

"We are not flashy people," she said. Her husband added: "With wealth comes great responsibility."

The win makes them richer than former Beatle Ringo Starr, who is worth £150 million, and singer Tom Jones who is on £140 million, according to the Rich List.

The previous British record jackpot holder, who won 129 million euros (£113 million, $182 million) in October last year, chose to remain anonymous.

The EuroMillions lottery, launched in 2004, is now played by nine countries across western Europe: Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

© 2011 AFP

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