I REALLY hope builder Steve Thomson and his wife Lenka will still be smiling as broadly this time next year, after their life-changing £105m EuroMillions win.
Photos in this week’s newspapers and footage on TV saw them with beaming grins and looking giddy on a cocktail of champagne and loadsamoney.
This crazy amount of cash changes absolutely everything, and I’m sure they will still be coming to terms with being transformed overnight into multi-millionaires.
After the initial shock and euphoria, Steve and Lenka, who have three children, need to sit down and work out exactly what to do with this windfall.
They will, of course, want to take care of friends and family, but with the best will in the world, this sort of cash can cause resentment, envy and fall-outs.
Old family disputes can come to the surface and even good friends might feel awkward around the newly super-rich Steve and Lenka.
Even if they both make a Herculean effort to remain the same people they were before this mammoth win, they’ll find that it’s everyone else around them who inevitably changes.
Some will bow and scrape, others might be stand-offish, worried about accusations of “sucking up”, and there will be those who’ll shamelessly ask for vast quantities of dosh.
They will have to deal with begging letters from good causes and individuals that will be heartbreaking because, even with all that money, they won’t be able to help everyone.
They have been lumbered with instant fame and will forever be known as “the EuroMillions couple”.
That’s a lot to handle, and I really hope they take advice from experts provided by Lottery officials rather than trying to cope on their own.
We’ve seen it many times before.
People winning shedloads of cash, going on a spending bonanza and losing it all, marriages collapsing and families tearing themselves apart.
It’s interesting that while they are delighted for her, Lenka’s relatives — who live in Slovakia — don’t really expect their lives to change all that much.
They won’t be asking for any favours, insisting they make a good enough living from their little family-run garage.
Her mum doesn’t want to move from her small village into a big house in the UK but would simply like her daughter and family to visit more often.
Crucially, they all say they are happy and contented.
And surely that’s what all of us want from life.
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It’s an old cliche that money doesn’t automatically bring you happiness, and I’m pretty sure being miserable in comfort isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I think the Lottery should have made 105 people millionaires instead of giving this massive sum to just one winner.
It’s just too overwhelming.
I sincerely hope that Steve and Lenka will find this money a blessing rather than a curse and that they can be as happy as they were before their big win.
Let’s see where we are in 12 months’ time.
Trio of greats taken
I adored Clive, who was witty, warm, wise and a delight to be around.
The Observer’s legendary television critic Clive James died this week at the age of 80[/caption]
If you want a proper belly laugh, get his autobiography Unreliable Memoirs, one of the funniest books I’ve read.
His cutting-edge TV show introduced us to the wacky world of Japanese reality programmes light years before we had our own versions like Big Brother.
Clive also unleashed Cuban “singer” Margarita Pracatan into our living rooms.
Today’s trendy, young late-night producers might think they are clever but Clive, who was 80, did it all first . . . and he did it better.
Sir Jonathan Miller has died aged 85 after suffering from Alzheimer’s[/caption]
Jonathan Miller, 85, was another intellectual giant but, like Clive, never talked down to us mere mortals. He was also a creative genius.
Both men had battled long illnesses and their lives were well lived.
The most shocking tragedy was the passing of 59-year-old Gary Rhodes, the eternally youthful chef who reintroduced classic British food to the world.
He died suddenly in Dubai, where he lived with his wife Jennie.
My thoughts are with everyone who loved these three fine fellows.
I TURN 60 today, which feels odd as I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up.
As a birthday surprise, my top TV team organised for me to have astronaut training at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
And on yesterday’s show they gave me spectacular surprises.
I had no script, no notes and no idea what was going to happen.
He hasn’t yet learned the art of sitting modestly in Scottish national dress . . . and I can state on the record he went commando.
Plus, I cried through a Iive link to Singapore with my brother Graham and my daughter Rosie.
I was also honoured to be asked to be nationwide honorary colonel of our splendid cadet force.
I reckon as long as we are happy, healthy and retain curiosity, age is just a number and we will for ever be young at heart.
KATE MIDDLETON knows how a modern royal should behave.
She never puts a foot wrong, always looks flawless and has become an ever-greater asset to The Firm.
This week she has been doing work experience in a London children’s hospital.
She is committed to her Early Years project helping under-fives and wanted an insight into the work done at Kingston Hospital’s maternity unit.
This kind of work gives the Royal Family relevance and is what they should all aspire to.
Andrew is paying the price
He’s already been booted off public duties by his enraged big brother and his disappointed mum.
Now senior military figures are apparently demanding he be stripped of his honorary appointments.
I doubt Andrew minds not having to unveil plaques and visit ball-bearing factories, as it will give him more time for golf. But this latest rebuff will sting.
The only time he was truly popular was in the Eighties, as a naval helicopter pilot in the Falklands War.
It’s hard to believe now but he returned as a conquering hero to cheering crowds.
His wartime exploits have since become the stuff of cartoons, jokes and memes, after he claimed he was unable to sweat from being shot at during the conflict.
Now it’s been reported an ex may write a tell-all book and the BBC is to air an interview with Epstein’s alleged “sex slave” Virginia Roberts, who accuses Andrew of having sex with her when she was 17 – claims he has constantly denied.
Maybe if Andrew was less arrogant and more likeable, some of the charities and groups now shunning him might have stood by his side.
Who’ll snap up Ulrika?
CRIKEY! Ulrika scrubs up well. At 52, I don’t think she has ever looked better.
It’s good to see her sparkle back.
Her confidence has taken a hit over the past few years because, as she has explained herself, she was in an unhappy and sexless marriage for years.
Now divorced, she feels ready to get back out into the world, looking for love and romance.
She made a start by getting some seriously alluring profile photos taken for a dating app.
I expect it has already crashed with starry-eyed single men hoping to win Ulrika’s heart.
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They should know her kids and beloved bulldogs will always come first, they must have a good sense of humour and enjoy a large glass of red wine or two.
I hope Ulrika has a lot of fun sorting out the men from the boys – and lands herself a kind, caring chap who will look after her.
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