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8m Lottery Winner's Spending Spree
16 Apr 2007

After hitting the jackpot, lottery winners these days tend to be a bit sensible. As they come to terms with hitting the jackpot Lottery winners these days tend to sound a little, well, sensible.

At a push, some will give up the day job, and then of course there's new cars and gifts for relatives.

Most will also admit to thinking about a nice holiday or maybe moving to a bigger house, but that's where the extravagance often ends.

Not Jennifer Southall, however.

After ten years working as a 5.85-an-hour cinema supervisor, the 43-year-old, who had never before tasted champagne or been on an aeroplane, has just one ambition - to spend, spend, spend.

Refreshingly, the divorced mother-of-three has already made plans that will make a big hole in her 8,372,751 fortune as she aims to fulfil her dream of a lifestyle to match those of the Hollywood superstars she has spent the last decade watching on-screen.

The job was abandoned soon after her numbers came up, shortly followed by the spending spree of her life in which she spent 1,500 in just 24 hours, and her rented council house home will soon go the same way.

It will be replaced by a big house with a swimming pool, a "pretty red car" plus driving lessons, and a luxury holiday or two for the whole family once they've applied for passports.

Yesterday Miss Southall was adapting quickly to her new status as a millionairess.

"Now I know what it is like to be rich - and it's fantastic," she said as the cheque was handed over in her home town of Newport, Gwent.

"I've never even been on a plane or needed a passport. My family are mad about Egypt so that is one place I want to go as soon as I won the jackpot.

"But then this morning somebody mentioned New York and a bell rang in my head. I'll go there as well.

"I've seen the stars in the movies for years and now its my turn.

"I've also always wanted to live in a big house with a swimming pool - and a bedroom for me that's far enough away from the kids that I won't be able to hear their music blaring anymore.

"In fact, even though I still feel sick and in shock at having won so much money, believe me I am going to enjoy spending it."

Even the confirmation that she had won was a very public affair - standing in the queue at Tesco with the ticket that was her passport to a new lifestyle tucked in her bra for safekeeping.

"The shop assistant looked at me and said: 'I think you've won rather a lot of money.'

"When she printed off the slip showing exactly what I'd won I started dancing from one foot to the other.

"A queue of people had built up behind me and they must have thought I was some sort of demented fool."

As the assistant promptly fainted in shock at realising what had happened, Miss Southall marched straight to the cinema where she worked, told her manager she'd won the Lottery and handed in her notice there and then.

"When I went to have my ticket checked, Camelot gave me a bottle of champagne to help me celebrate, but I just went home and ordered a pizza," she added.

"I still haven't opened the champagne - I have never tasted real champagne in my life." The next day she and her mother went on a big shopping trip to Newport.

"I spent about 1,500 on clothes, phones, a new handbag and a posh pair of trainers," she said. "I've never gone through so much money before in a single day."

Miss Southall, who has a daughter Lauren, 19, and two sons, Kyle, 17, and Jamie, 14, said she had "just a few quid in the bank" from her 25-hour-a-week job, benefits and tax credits which bring in around 9,000 a year.

"I've got an awful lot more now," she added. In fact, if invested, it would easily earn in a week what she currently does in a year - that, however, seems distinctly unlikely.

Along with a new home close to family and friends, other plans include a trip to New York and a villa in Spain as well as covering the cost of her daughter's architecture course and her sons' passion for skateboarding and computer games.

Miss Southall split with her husband seven years ago and they are no longer in contact, and while she has a boyfriend of eight months - an office worker whom she declined to name - she has no plans to remarry.

She has spent around 7-a-week on the Lottery since it was launched, which works out at more than 4,000.

But after finally hitting the jackpot with a lucky dip ticket and the numbers 23, 24, 30, 31, 33 and 37, Miss Southall plans to continue playing twice a week.

An 8.4million fortune goes a long way, and even Jennifer Southall's new-found spending ability will make little impression on her fortune. Among the sums either spent or already earmarked are:

big house with swimming pool in Newport area - five bedroom property with 40ft covered swimming pool on market in nearby Caerleon - 675,000

Spanish villa - four-bed property on Costa Blanca with private garden and pool - 300,000

holiday in Egypt - two weeks at a four-star resort in Sharm El Sheikh by the Red Sea for the whole family - 3,000 (and passports at 243)

trip to New York - three nights at the stylish Bentley Hotel plus spending money for everybody - 6,000

new car - "a pretty, red one" - A new Mini Cooper might fit the bill - 13,000 (not to mention around 1,000 to learn how to drive)

student debts - paying off the cost of the first year of daughter Lauren's architecture course - 5,000

shopping sprees - clothes, mobile phones, handbag and trainers - 1,500

computer equipment for sons Kyle and Jamie - PlayStation 3 plus ten games - 800

TOTAL: 1,005,543

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