We all dream of what we would do with a massive Lottery win - but for Amanda and Graham Nield, the dream really did come true. Jayne Dawson reports.
We’ve all played the game. Passed a sleepless hour deciding what we would do with a Lottery win, how we would divide the money and who would get what.
It’s a conundrum. Usually, the answer is to go back and double the size of your win to make sure your nearest and dearest get a decent amount while leaving lots for yourself.
But this is not the problem of Amanda and Graham Nield, of Batley, who really did manage the unimaginable.
In August, while most of us were spending on our annual holiday, they found themselves a really quite incredible £6,676,215 richer. And their problem now is coming to terms with it.
Let me give you an example: before our meeting, Amanda decided to treat herself to a new skirt. She chose a lovely vibrant red, perfect for cheering up midwinter – and it cost her £6 from Ossett market.
Amanda still does this kind of thing all the time. Jumpers for Graham cost £2 from the same market; when the couple married the month after their win she wore an outfit borrowed from a friend; she still visits car boot sales, and she still plays the Lottery.
Because Amanda, 48, by her own admission, is a little bit in denial. “I try not to think about it,” she says.
“I can’t change my habits. My friend took me to Harvey Nichols in Leeds and I nearly passed out at the prices. I am not used to it.”
Graham, 56, is just as bad. He wore a suit several years old to his wedding even though by then he was a multi-millionaire . Recently he bought Amanda a pair of shoes. Don’t get excited though, they were £3 from a charity shop. To be fair, the reason he bought them was a very caring and romantic one – they were exactly the same style that Amanda had worn on their first date 12 years ago. But it is hard to know which is the more incredible, the fact that he remembered the style, or the fact that he presented a woman with more than £6m in the bank with a £3 pair of second-hand shoes.
She didn’t wear them to their Register Office wedding at Dewsbury Town Hall, attended only by their immediate family, but she did borrow a dress from a friend.
Basically, after years of living within their means, having the cash to buy anything they want is alien to Amanda and Graham.
So it will not be a surprise to hear that this Christmas will not be a fancy affair. In fact it will be just like last Christmas.
And Christmas shopping has always begun with bargains in the January sales, so it will continue to do so.
Between them, the couple have five children and 13 grandchildren. In the past Amanda, who loves Christmas, has spent £50 on each person for their main present, so she will do that this year as well – although her children have told her to rein it in and spend less.
Amanda said: “They tell me every year that it is their job to buy the main present for their own children, not mine.”
Christmas Day will be spent delivering all the gifts, and then with Amanda’s mum and dad, who are both unwell.
As for what to buy each other, Graham at least has already solved that problem.
“I have put four new tyres on Amanda’s car. I got them at a discount, ” he said.
That car, I hardly need to tell you, is nothing new and flash.
It’s a Hyundai Tucson 4x4 and is two years old. Graham’s is the equivalent but a Kia, and it is five years old. Graham said: “People keep asking me if I am going to get a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, but what would be the point?
“We just want to be comfortable, we are so used to living within our means.”
There have been some changes though. For a start, the couple no longer rent – they live with Amanda’s mum and dad instead. Her dad James, 72, is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s after suffering the illness for ten years and her mum Joan is recovering from cancer and has severe arthritis.
Graham said: “There have been a lot of 2am phone calls so we decided the best way to help them was to move in with them. Amanda is determined to look after her parents herself and the easiest way to support her in doing that is to move in with them.
“It is sad because they have not had the retirement they wanted.”
Amanda and Graham met 12 years ago at work, a company which makes carpets for cars. Graham was the manager and Amanda a supervisor.
Eventually they got together, but could never afford to buy so lived in a rented home, as did the five children they have between them from previous marriages.
Graham said: “We have always worked and so have all our children, but people who work really hard are still struggling.”
Now, the couple have bought each of their children a house.
Amanda said: “ I always said that if I ever won that is what I would do, and now it has happened.”
The couple won their millions on Saturday, August 17, and found out the next day .
It was their last weekend in their old home because they were about to move in with Amanda’s mum and dad.
That day they had been up since 2am to prepare for a boot sale where they hoped to raise £800 towards a new kitchen for the house .
Amanda said: “Merging two homes into one meant we had a lot of duplicate things, so we were selling all that.”
That night they finally sat down to eat at 7pm and checked their Lottery numbers. Graham spent £5 a week and always used the same five lines.
“They were just random numbers but I always used them,” he said.
Four months on, and the reality still hasn’t really sunk in.
While hugely grateful for their amazing good fortune, Graham and Amanda , who previously earned around £30,000 and £23,000 respectively, find the reality of their win a bit of a burden at times.
Graham said: “It is a headache. The money generates a whole new avenue of problems. We have a solicitor and a financial advisor and we have regular meetings but at the moment it is just sitting in the bank.
“We will have to make decisions about investments. It’s all alien to us. We worry about things like should we carry on paying our National Insurance – we both want to – and about pension arrangements.”
As for other people’s attitudes, Graham says: “Most people have been lovely to us about the win. We do hear the odd story about people saying things about us, but we never know whether to believe them or not, so we just let all that go over our heads. In the end, we just want to enjoy it.”
The couple have made one major purchase – they are in the process of having a three bedroom bungalow built on the edge of Emley Moor for them to live in with Amanda’s parents.
Amanda said: “It has lovely views so it will be good for my dad who likes to look out of the window, and it will mean we have a bit more room, because basically now we live in a bedroom.”
Amanda has given up work so she can care full time for her parents while Graham plans to stop just before Christmas.
“I think we will start a business between us, we need to have a purpose in life, we can’t just do nothing,” he said.
Amanda said: “Before all this I wrote on my Facebook page how happy my life was and said all I needed now was a Lottery win. Now I have got it and I can’t believe it, I am still waiting for someone to pinch me.”
l Family’s £1.5m Lottery win: Page 16