Trip to supermarket netted couple a million pounds

Andrew and Natalie Cunliffe
Andrew and Natalie Cunliffe

Most of us pop into the supermarket for a weekly shop or a to pick up a quick lunch during a break from the office routine.

But for Andrew Cunliffe a trip to Asda in Hindley proved to be a life-changing experience.

Andrew Cunliffe and Natalie Cliff

Andrew Cunliffe and Natalie Cliff

It was there that he picked up a winning lottery scratchcard which won Andrew and his partner Natalie Cliff a cool one million pounds.

However, the couple, who are now planning to marry in the new year, say that even a million pounds in your bank account is not necessarily a life-changing sum.

But instead it has given them some relief from the normal money worries and Natalie the chance to give up her job and have some precious time with their three year old daughter as she grows up.

Andrew, 38, said: “When we won we got a lot of help and advice from Lottery company Camelot about investments and how to use the money.

“But you have to be sensible and you have to make it work for the family and for your children’s future. To be honest at current interest rates, if you just put it all in the bank, you could not live on the interest which is about £5,000 a year, and then there is tax on top of that. People just don’t realise.

“But we are a lot more relaxed and I can take a bit of extra time off to spend with the family.”

Natalie, 31, who went to the former Greenlands High School in Bispham, said: “What it has done is give me the opportunity to be at home with our daughter. I gave up my job at the Tower and to have that time is wonderful, it is priceless.

“It has been an amazing year with her so far.”

She said the couple had talked to each other like so many others do about what they would spend their winnings on if they did ever win, but once you do win everything changes.

“Everyone has that conversation, about paying off the mortgage, helping people have fantastic holidays, but it is completely different when you win. It is very exciting but you have to be sensible.”

Andrew said: “We did have a couple of holidays but the dream Ferrari is still in the shed!”

He said that because he won while he was at work, word got round very quickly and there was no chance of remaining anonymous.

The construction company site manager had nipped to Hindley supermarket to get some tea bags for his workmates and picked up the lucky scratchcard at the same time.

But he said Camelot gave them loads of advice on how to handle everything and also introduced them to other winners - a meeting which led to a very rewarding life experience, the chance to do some charity work.

The couple, who live in Blackpool, have taken part in two major projects with other winners helping Manchester charity Stockdales which looks after young adults with learning difficulties and helping at Zoe’s Place in Liverpool, the hospice which cares for under fives.

Natalie said it was real hands on stuff.

“At Stockdales we were part of the group which upgraded their garden, helped plant a sensory garden and redecorated some rooms. It was two days of hard graft.

“Zoe’s Place was so rewarding. We helped build a gingerbread play house for the children. Andrew took the lead being a joiner by trade. We met some of the children. I thought it would be very hard emotionally but a lot of the little ones that are poorly don’t really know that their condition is life limiting and were lovely.

“It is really for their siblings to visit and play with them, but it was so rewarding to see the smiles on their faces when it was finished.”

Andrew added: “Seeing their faces when they came out and saw the gingerbread house for the first time was great. It was in the papers and some of the lads at work were taking the mickey out of me but it was fun.”

Natalie said: “With that amount of money you can’t just hand it out and help everyone, but winning a million means that we can give our time to help.”

Christmas this year will be spent as usual hosting all the family but this time the turkey and trimmings will be on Andrew and Natalie.

Natalie said: “Our daughter is at that stage where she is very excited and asking for all sorts. But while we don’t have money worries we will not be going wild.

“I am very sensible and start planning for Christmas in January! We are keeping very grounded and do not want to spoil her, but this year will be very special.

“We have never been extravagant and were always trying to save. We missed out on quite a few things at times and most of our money went into our house.

“The money has not changed us. We are still looking forward to the family coming round for Christmas, but maybe this time we will pay for them.

“The best thing the money has done for us is to give us time, more time together as a family.”