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WHAT IT'S LIKE TO WIN THE JACKPOT; We all imagine winning the fortune that will change our lives. And while for most of us it remains a dream, some lucky people get to live it. Janet Tansley and Tony Barrett spoke to three people who have scooped the jackpot and found out how they spent, spent, spent ... ...

Byline: Janet Tansley and Tony Barrett

pounds WHEN Robert Davies scooped a mammoth pounds 1.5m on the National Lottery he pledged to take early retirement and take things easy.

But when contacted by the ECHO the Everton fan from Kirkby was certainly not relaxing - he was up a ladder, decorating his daughter's house!

"I could have got someone in I suppose but I've always enjoyed decorating," he says. "I'm a joiner by trade and I can turn my hand to pretty much anything so it's good to keep doing a bit."

Regardless of his continuing DIY efforts, hitting the jackpot has undoubtedly changed Robert's life.

"We've been able to look after the family with gifts," he says. "It's nice to be able to do that kind of thing.

"I was working as a building site manager at the time and I gave my notice in straight away.

"But I was in quite a responsible job so I still worked my month's notice."

Since winning the pounds 1.5m, Robert and wife Pat have booked a couple of holidays and are in the process of buying a new family home.

The new property is in Kirkby, not too far away from where the Davies' currently live.

Robert says: "We are close to completing the new house. It is bigger and better than the one we're currently in and it is a bit closer to the town centre so it's Pat's dream house.

"But we are definitely staying in Kirkby and our eldest daughter will be moving into our old house.

"We have also booked a holiday to Florida for next year and we are looking to go to Tenerife in February.

It's nice to be able to do those sort of things."

But in the meantime it's back to the decorating for Robert. There are some jobs even millionaires can't get out of.

pounds AMANDA Kostadinov had a fantastic time on holiday in Venice - but it was nothing to do with romance.

The day care centre manager was there when she learnt she had won The National Lottery.

"My mobile phone rang and when I answered it someone shouted 'we've won the Lottery' and then the line went dead," she laughs.

"I started ringing round to tell everybody - but no-one believed me."

Amanda was one of a 21-strong syndicate from St Mary's Day Care Centre in Halewood which won a pounds 530,969 share of the Lotto jackpot on December 17 last year.

That meant a Christmas present for each of them of just over pounds 25,000.

"It was so close to Christmas that most of us had bought our gifts so this was a huge bonus for us all.

"And it was a brilliant feeling. Fantastic."

The 48-year-old mother of one goes on: "The day I went round telling everybody what we had won was the best day of my life. I felt like Father Christmas."

But they didn't let the win go to any of their heads.

"People talked about doing all the things they had wanted to do - repairs and extensions, debts cleared, there were family parties, holidays. There was even talk of plastic surgery.

"But in the end we were all quite sensible.

"I have been on holiday - and not had to worry about it, I treated my son, Eric, I paid off debts and I bought a car."

The syndicate still takes part in the weekly Lotto. "It has given us all a sense of optimism and a hope of success again in the future," Amanda says. "It is true, money can't buy you happiness. But it can certainly give you a lift."

pounds HAD Ian Hodgson's luck not been in he wouldn't have even been given the chance to win the pounds 64,000 he scooped on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

Ian, from St Helens, was selected to participate in the television quiz show - but only as the first reserve.

He recalls: "I was told I was number 11 on the list and I would only actually take part if one of the 10 dropped out for some reason.

"I was asked to decide whether to go or not but I was between jobs at the time so I thought 'why not?'

"Someone did drop out and I ended up getting through and into the hot seat."

Despite suffering from the pressure of the occasion, Ian, 49, managed to answer 10 questions correctly on his way to winning the pounds 64,000 prize.

"My palms were sweating and I could hardly speak," he recalls.

"My family have always skitted me for the amount of daft things I know but on this occasion it certainly worked in my favour."

Ian, who is married with two children, remembers the anxious wait for the cash.

"The only problem was I had to wait before the show was screened on TV before I could cash the cheque and that took two months.

"Luckily, the bank agreed to hold it for me before I could cash it just to make sure it didn't get lost."

So what did Ian spend his winnings on?

"I actually work as a financial controller so I'm usually better at looking after other people's money than my own," he jokes.

"We haven't spent all of the money but we did have a wonderful holiday in a villa on Mexico's Gulf Coast during the summer. We were also able to have the bathroom completely redone because that was a job we needed to do, but we'd had to keep putting it off until then.

"It wasn't an enormous amount of money to win but it has certainly made a nice difference to all our lives."


WINNERS: Ian Hodgson (above) and Amanda Kostadinov (below) scooped prizes' CHEERS: Everton fan Robert I Davies who won pounds 1.5 on the National Lottery
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Title Annotation:Competition/Offers
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 4, 2006
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