The winner of this week’s lottery has been confirmed as a worker in a bank in London, who initially requested no publicity but has decided that it’s best to come clean and save the neighbours the gossip.
Steve Hester, who works for RBS, was delighted with the windfall which had initially been estimated to be much lower, but almost doubled earlier in the month after the Chancellor failed to claim the prize and then several days later the country watched excitedly as the Liberal Democrats subsequently also rolled over.
But questions were being asked by a lot of people after it emerged that Mr Hester hadn’t even bought his own ticket. By an amazing coincidence, the previous jackpot was won by a Mr Diamond from Massachusetts, who also works for a bank and who is visiting the UK as part of a round-the-world tour.
In choosing his numbers Mr Hester had originally decided on his birth date, his street number and the ages of himself, his wife and a lady he once met in Paris, but eventually he settled on his lucky 11-digit number which makes a phone ring at 11 Downing Street.
The staggering jackpot would buy seven thousand Porsches, a bit of a Picasso, several hundred thousand new foxes to chase after in his garden, or a place in the starting line-up with Man Utd against Real, at least for the first half. Or failing that, Beyonce could come and sing and dance for him up to seven and a half times, as long as she can get it all over with in the same evening.
‘It’s a dream come true, and I’m not quite sure what to do with it all,’ said an elated Mr Hester, ‘I think I might take a once in a lifetime holiday to Magaluf, a new car perhaps, or I might even help my parents through their old age, although they think I earn too much already, so actually, stuff them. But it’s a vast amount of wonga and perhaps I’ll give a lot of it to charity. Or maybe I might just, thinking about it, and weighing everything up, all the pros and cons, and everything, and I think, well, maybe I might just quietly keep it all for myself.’
On whether he would give up work and put his feet up, Mr Hester said he loved his job, despite the stresses and strains, and the long hours where he often had to phone home to tell his family he’d be late as the bottle of Mouton Rothschild wasn’t even nearly half-empy. ‘In the scheme of things when you have no idea how things are going to work out you have to think of the future. I’ve been saving up for my pension and it would be a shame to let that all go,’ said Mr Hester, 48, but added; ‘another six months should do it.’
The enormity of the win has not eluded Mr Hester but his feet remain firmly planted in his here-and-now. Despite the size of the win he was certain life would carry on as normal. He added; ‘It won’t change me.’