Marion toasts £16m Lotto win
Apr 14 2004
The Daily Mirror
AS a hard-up mum-of-five, Marion Richardson used to dream of shopping in plush Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills.
And thanks to her £16.7million lottery bonanza the 57-year-old can now flash the cash at the famous street like Julia Roberts did in her favourite film Pretty Woman.
Marion will ditch her normal clothing label - George at Asda - for some of the world's leading names and already has her eye on a Louis Vuitton handbag.
She even fancies a Shirley Valentine-style holiday.
Divorced Marion, Britain's biggest lottery winner, said last night: "I love Pretty Woman. I've seen it about six times and I've always said I'd love to go down Rodeo Drive and have a shop.
"And I've always wanted to be Shirley Valentine and have my stretch marks kissed."
For those who don't know, that's what Tom Conti's character did to lonely Shirley, played by Pauline Collins, in the movie.
Not that Marion's massive win was a total surprise to her.
Four years ago the superstitious Royal Mail worker predicted she would scoop a vast amount of cash.
Marion said she told her grandson Ben at the time: "One day Nana will win the lottery and buy you a horse, and we will all live together on a farm."
She added: "For years he always used to ask me 'Have you won the lottery yet?' and now I have."
Now, Marion is preparing to swap her council house in Winlaton, Tyne and Wear, for a nearby farmhouse where she can live a life of luxury with her children and five grandchildren.
She won the £16.7million on Friday's EuroMillions draw - the first Briton to land a prize.
Marion, nicknamed Mystic Meg by her family because of her love of astrology and tarot cards, told how an itchy palm gave her an inkling she was onto something.
She said: "I was knitting a cardigan for my granddaughter and my right palm started itching like mad.
"I thought it might be a good sign so I switched on Teletext to check my numbers. I knew they were mine because they were all my children's birthdays.
"But I still couldn't believe it. I thought I had fallen asleep and dreamed it."
The win couldn't have come at a better time for Marion who divorced her disabled husband Colin earlier this year after splitting up five years ago and was struggling financially.
She had worked 12-hour shifts to support her large family for years. But five months ago she lost her job in a sorting office after suffering a thyroid complaint.
She said: "I'm proud of my family because we haven't come from a lot of money.
"I've worked all my life, first part-time when the kids were young and then full-time.
"It's rubbed off on them. If they want something they work for it.
"They've always come first, and the first thing I will do is buy a home for the whole family, that's got to be the centre of everything so that my family is secure and all safe together."
She vowed to share her luck with children Paul, 39, Julie, 37, Colin, 35, Scott, 32 and 25-year-old Kay.
And she offered to help out ex-husband Colin, who she was married to for 28 years, by buying him a bungalow.
The 57-year-old has multiple sclerosis and still lives near Marion in Winlaton.
Colin said: "The offer was really, really nice of her. But I am happy here, I have just had a ramp for the wheelchair installed outside and all my mates know where I am. The win couldn't have happened to a nicer person. Even though we have split up we are still friends."
Marion was presented with her lotto cheque by Atomic Kitten's Natasha Hamilton and Liz McLarnon in London.
Both have worked with her son Scott who is a music promoter.
Natasha said: "I'm so happy for her."
Copyright © 2004, The Daily Mirror