Lotto millionaire tells lucky secret €88m winner to 'keep cool'
A former Belfast bus driver who won over £10m on the lottery 20 years ago - and tripled his wealth since - has advised the secret €88m winner to "keep cool" and get good financial advice.
Peter Lavery (54), whose life changed in 1996 when he received a call on a Saturday night out to say he had won £10,248,233 - also warned that Ireland's newest mega-millionaire will be inundated with calls from financial investors, property experts and pension fund managers.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Lavery said: "I know it's hard but they are going to have to try and keep cool and calm. It will be a very hard thing to do.
"So I would just say to them, 'put the money in the bank for now and take time to reflect before making your next move'.
"They will need a good financial adviser and a good lawyer because people will come out of the woodwork trying to get them to invest their winnings.
"They will have pension fund managers trying to talk to them and property people, investors... 20 different people, all telling them 20 different things. They need to know who they can trust."
Once they have that figured out, Peter says: "The world is their oyster." After his win Peter splashed out on a mock-Tudor style mansion and a selection of cars including two Jaguars.
Asked if winning the jackpot has made him happier, he said: "It certainly made me happy. It definitely did. Money doesn't make you happy in itself but it makes life a lot easier and it's been a worthwhile enjoyable experience, so I have no regrets.''
On the night the Belfast man won the lottery, 33.5 million people played it and Peter got the luck of the draw.
He said the best part about his win was the ability to "help people", including a charity trust he has set up. He also said that the windfall has enabled him to travel the world.
"I have seen so much of the world I would never have gotten a chance to visit otherwise. Australia, New Zealand, I've been to America 100 times and I have been on a cruise over 60 times in 20 years. So yes it has opened my life up to opportunities I would have never of had otherwise."
Reflecting on the hardest part of his fate he said the big win came just after his father's death. "I had lost him 14 months earlier and my mother died at a very young age, so I would have liked to have had my parents around for it. To give them a bit back. They never wanted for anything, but they paid dearly to give us what we wanted so I would have liked to have given them comfort. That was probably the most difficult part for me."
Asked if he still plays the lotto today, he laughed: "All I'll say is that I can't confirm or deny that I am the recent winner."
In recent days the petrol station that sold the €88m-winning EuroMillions lotto ticket, ran out of its celebratory 88.5c fuel stocks. The Applegreen station on the M1 in Lusk, Co Dublin, reduced the price of petrol and diesel in celebration of the fact the winning ticket came from its store. The outlet will receive a bonus payment for selling the winning jackpot - but it's not clear how much they will get.
All sales - of Lotto and EuroMillions draw tickets and scratchcards - attract a 6pc commission for the outlets that sell them.
The National Lottery press office confirmed bonus payments on top of that are given to outlets that sell jackpot tickets, but that it was up to the individual retailer to disclose what that actual payment was.