Mysterious millionaires?

July 21, 2011, 6:13 PM GMT+0

More than four in five British people say they would seek to remain anonymous if they won £161 million on the lottery – the amount gained by the winning couple on the Euromillions draw last week (pictured) ‒ our poll has discovered.

The poll revealed that fewer than one in ten people would choose to go public with their win.

  • 84% of British people would seek to remain anonymous if they won £161 million on the lottery
  • While just 9% of people would want to go public with their incredible win

The poll comes as a couple from Ayrshire in Scotland last week won the biggest ever lottery prize; £161 million on the Euromillions draw. Colin and Chris Weir (pictured, above) were said to be ‘tickled pink’ at their win, with Colin remarking at a media conference in Falkirk:

‘When we realised we had won, it felt like a dream. Everything went in slow motion’.

Before the draw last week, the largest lottery winner in the UK was a player who claimed £113 million in the Euromillions last October, but who chose to remain anonymous.

Jackpots and jinxes

Earlier this year Channel 4 showed a documentary called ‘Jackpots and Jinxes: Lottery Stories’, telling the story of several lottery winners who, unlike the intended actions of 84% of people in our poll, decided against anonymity and went public with their win.

Highlighting the mixed blessings of winning the lottery, the programme featured a number of winners’ stories, including that of Nigel and Sharon Mather, who won £12.4 million and agonised over how to tell people before deciding to go public, and another winner who, after banking £1 million, had his car torched and now spends his life watching security cameras.

‘Great responsibility’

At a press conference following their win, Colin and Chris Weir made their intentions clear. ‘We’re not flashy people,’ said Chris, who has said that he sees no reason to swap his modestly-priced house or cars for flashier models. He continued, ‘The next steps are going to be the most difficult… with great wealth comes great responsibility’.