EuroMillions £115m jackpot winners give away over half of their fortune…
An amazing couple Frances and Patrick Connolly have given away about £60 million to help others around them to loved ones, charities and those in need during the covid19 pandemic.
Frances and Patrick, who lived in Hartlepool for 25 years, had said that their first priority was a list of around 50 friends and family to share their amazing fortune with following their big win on New Year’s Day 2019. Going against all the usual stereotypical champagne lifestyle that might be expected of huge jackpot winners, the pair have set up two charitable foundations: the Kathleen Graham Trust in Northern Ireland, where they are both from originally, and the PFC Trust in County Durham, where they now live.
The couples good deeds have included buying 1,000 or more presents for patients who will be in hospital on Christmas Day away from loved ones and handing out hundreds of tablets for people who found themselves isolated during the coronavirus lockdown so that they can still keep in touch and not feel so lonely.
Mrs Connolly is originally from Glebe in Co Tyrone and businessman Mr Connolly is from Belfast. The couples family consist of their three daughters and three grandchildren. Describing the past two years, Mrs Connolly said it had been an “absolutely manic whirlwind, and a total, total joyride from start to finish”.
The low-key happy couple, who were living in Moira, Co Down, at the time of their online “lucky dip” win, famously told how they had celebrated with a hug and a cup of tea, and vowed they would not become part of the “jet set” usual lifestyle.
Mrs Connolly said she had wanted to speak out now at the end of 2020 to help draw attention to the good work being done by so many people for charity during the pandemic. She said: “People need to be celebrated. Not me, not by any stretch of the imagination me, but by me talking drawing attention to the fact that, actually, we’re a nation of heroes without capes, up and down the country.”
Now living in a five-bedroom bungalow in County Durham – Set in five acres of land, with a tennis court and swimming pool – Mrs Connolly, 54, said they had turned down options to move to castles, as well as a grand stately homes one of which had 15-bedrooms and came with a village.
They also chose not to fly first class to New Zealand to visit one of their daughters, stating that they could have helped a young couple pay off a bit of their mortgage with the ticket price – instead opting for the comforts of business class.
Mrs Connolly said: “Patrick joked for years that if we ever won the lottery, he’d take away my mobile phone and never let me use the computer again because I’d give away the lot – But I’ve taken real joy from helping other people where we can espcially during such a tragic year for so many people.”
“We’ve no need for supercars, and I’m so proud that our daughters also drive second-hand cars, i would have been happy with a second hand Jaguar, as this is the car i have always wanted but we couldn’t find one so I treated myself to a brand new E-Pace Jaguar. It’s something that does the job, and there’s no need to be flash,” she said.
As well as running both charities, Mrs Connolly, retired from a career in education, helps her husband who owns a number of plastics manufacturing factories. When asked if the 56-year-old was not tempted to retire after the win, Mrs Connolly said: “He wants to keep people working. We’re too young to pack it in yet.”
On their list of family and friends to help were their daughters, Mrs Connolly’s three sisters and two brothers, and Mr Connolly’s three sisters. They also gave all their nieces and nephews money to buy their own homes.
Away from looking after relatives, the couple both flew into action when the pandemic rose to its peak, helping with much-needed supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). During this time Mrs Connolly bought new machines for a sewing group in Northern Ireland when she heard they were making PPE for health workers on the Covid-19 frontline.
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