£56m EuroMillions couple say win is ‘an amazing feeling’
It was like taking part in an episode of Blind Date: we knew their names and quite a good deal about them, but had no idea what they looked like.
Reporters who gathered for the EuroMillions Press conference in Bath yesterday knew that Nigel Page was 43, drove a white van and enjoyed skydiving. We knew he had been with his partner Justine Laycock (41) for eight years and she was an estate agent.
We also knew Mr Page had just won £56,008,113.20 — making him the biggest lottery winner in British history and the UK's 980th-richest person.
Flash photography should to be kept to a minimum, it was advised, to avoid scaring the interviewees. When the screen went back (or in this case a pair of swing doors), the winners were met with a pathetic burst of applause from a roomful of people who had clearly not expected them to look like any other middle-aged couple.
After being bullied into proving their intimacy by the assembled photographers (“Look down here please — with a kiss, with a kiss!”) Ms Laycock quipped: “That's enough for one day.” Poor Mr Page.
He later admitted that in the confusion that tends to come with winning £50m-plus, he had forgotten all about St Valentine's Day. Perhaps she was still angry with him.
A member of Camelot's Press team played the role of Cilla Black and soon the couple, who live near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, were sitting side-by-side and describing the moment they joined the ranks of the super-rich.
“It was Saturday morning,” Mr Page explained. “I was sitting at the breakfast table with my daughter — she was about to go off on a ski trip — and we had the news on and they said someone had won in Spain and in Britain. I said perhaps we ought to check the ticket.”
After logging on to the National Lottery website he was greeted with a message telling him the astronomical sum he had won. Mr Page said: “I started shaking and couldn't speak.
“I just kept looking at the screen in front of me but couldn't say a word.”
He decided it would be a good time to wake his partner from her weekend lie-in. Her first thought was that “something awful had happened”.
“I knew something was up as Nigel never wakes me up on a Saturday morning and he looked so worried,” said Ms Laycock. “He said it was important. He lost his voice. He couldn't speak. I went, ‘Oh my God'. So we sat there for about a minute in silence. We went into the front room and started to laugh. It was an amazing feeling.”
After receiving confirmation of the win the couple, who between them have three children from previous relationships, popped down to their local Waitrose and ate bacon rolls in the café as they waited for a lottery representative to arrive.
Mr Page, who runs a property maintenance business, said he would be giving it up to pursue his passion for leaping out of aeroplanes. He is a member of a skydiving club in South Cerney, but plans to set up an indoor skydiving centre.
Not one to beat about the bush, Ms Laycock called her boss at the estate agency on Sunday afternoon to tell him: “You'll never guess what but I've won the lottery. I won't be in on Monday.”