January 20, 2010

UK: We’ll carry on working, say family £26m richer overnight

. LONDON, England / The Telegraph / UK News / January 20, 2010 For most people, winning a £26.1m Lottery jackpot would mark the start of a long and luxurious retirement. By Heidi Blake But 75-year-old George Sturt is not ready to put his feet up yet, and plans instead to become Dorking’s only millionaire taxi driver. The former builder said he will not use the winnings to replace his old cab because “it’s only done 150,000 miles”, but admitted that he might consider cutting down on 3am shifts. From left to right, Colin, Teresa, George and Gary Sturt celebrating in Cobham, Surrey. Photo: Christopher Pledger Mr Sturt, who won the Euromillions draw on Friday, said he told his son that morning how he dreamed of winning the jackpot to fulfil his wife’s dying wish and buy their daughter a home of her own. The cab driver, who scooped the mighty windfall in a syndicate with his three children Colin, 53, Gary, 51 and Teresa, 44, said his wife, Maureen, who died of cancer last July, was anxious to secure their children’s future. Teresa lives in rented accommodation with her four children and has dreamed for years of owning a home. The £26m win was third time lucky for the family syndicate from Dorking, Surrey, who also won £22 last Saturday and £52 on Wednesday. At an emotional press conference, Mr Stuart said he believed the string of luck was a gift from his late wife. “I know she is watching over us and this is security for the whole family,” he said. “She loved the children and she will be so happy that they are all taken care of. She will have a big grin on her face.” The cab driver fought back tears as he told how he still whispers "goodnight" to his wife every evening before falling asleep, and said the win was bitter sweet without her. “When I realised we had won it upset me that my wife wouldn’t be here to spend it,” he said. “I phoned my granddaughter Nicola and told her we had won, but she wasn’t worried about the Lottery, she was just upset because I was crying.” Teresa and her daughter, Nicola, rushed to Mr Sturt’s house to comfort him after receiving the distressed phone call and were stunned when he showed them the winning ticket. "When you dream of winning, you think you'd scream but you just stare at each other and are completely gobsmacked,” she said. The family, who will each pocket £6.5m, said they felt “guilty” about their vast win when they saw television images of the destruction caused by an earthquake in Haiti last week. But Mr Sturt, who intends to donate much of his winnings to a local children’s hospital and to cancer charities, said his new riches would not change him. “It won’t change my life. I’ve got my private hire taxi and I’ll keep on driving,” he said. “I’ve got some lovely customers, but I might cut down on the 3am shifts.” His son, Colin, a builder, said he would use the money to help his children onto the property ladder, but insisted they would keep up the family tradition of hard work. “My kids will be looked after and they will always have a roof over their heads, which is a lovely thought for a father to have,” he said. “But they will have to keep their jobs, and if they borrow money they will have to pay it back. I’ve always told them they have to work, and if they can’t find a job they can go for a walk around the town and come back at 5 o’clock.” He also intends to take his wife, Julie, to New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, and will permit a rare extravagance by flying first class. Gary, a plumber, intends to fulfil a lifelong dream of owning a Harley Davidson, and his wife, Chris, plans to ease her fortnightly trip to watch Stoke City FC by taking a helicopter to the home ground. [rc] © Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2010