A couple who scooped a lottery jackpot 24 years ago have become Camelot’s “Guardian Angels” – giving advice to other big winners.
Lucky Elaine and Derek Thompson won £2.7million way back in 1995, when the game was barely 12 months old and played just once a week.
Since then they have made the most of their good fortune and helped other winners come to terms with their bewildering sudden riches.
They give key advice on everything from begging letters to charity work, holidays and still being able to go to the supermarket.
Among those they’ve guided were a dazed younger couple who were “like rabbits in headlights” after landing £120million.
Elaine, now 63 and still working as a shop assistant, said: “I never give monetary advice, it is our experience.
“I tell them, ‘Yes, you can still be normal’. You can go shopping at the same supermarkets and not travel down to Harrods.
“People may think you will be dripping in diamonds and designer gear. But you can still live a normal life.”
Elaine and retired accountant Derek, now 61, landed their prize on the 53rd week of the National Lottery draw.
Since they have set up their two children for life, enjoyed holidays around the world and met the likes of Tony Blair , the Spice Girls and Dale Winton.
They have moved from Hampshire to Dorset and back to their native north-east, finally settling in Newcastle after investing in various businesses.
They worked 18-hour days in a restaurant and helped out at a holiday centre where they could give free getaways for children with terminal diseases.
Elaine said: “My kids learned humility and how lucky they were.
“My son was complaining about something one day and a lad said, ‘I wish I had your life, I will swap you’. He was going to die before he became a teenager and that gives you perspective.
“We say that to winners – appreciate everything and keep a balance.”
The couple also urge winners not to rush into things or make snap decisions.
Elaine added: “I say, ‘Go away, lie on a beach and think about it’.
“It took us two years to remember to pay the mortgage off. The bank manager was like, ‘Where have you been?’”