Living the millionaire life may not be everyone’s idea of ‘the perfect life’. Just take Hairdresser, Susan Herdman who won £1,2 Million (R25 Million) in 2010 in the UK National Lottery. Instead of doing what most people would do, swapping their everyday lives for a life of luxury and opulence, Susan decided to live a seemingly simple life.
Before winning a major lottery jackpot 10 years ago, Susan was a single parent who was struggling to make ends meet. Besides her major Lottery win, she has not given up her working life. “I’ve been a hard worker all my life,” says Susan, 52. “I’ve always had jobs and my parents instilled in me that if you want something, work for it – no one gives you a life – and don’t get into debt.”
Susan started purchasing a lottery ticket just after the National Lottery launched in 1994, she would buy a ticket for her dad each week. When he stopped playing the lottery, Susan continued to play the same numbers as her dad as she believed that one day she would win on those numbers.
“It was like an absolute strong inner belief that I was going to win,” she explains. “When I was doing my clients’ hair, I never used to say ‘if’ I win the lottery. It was ‘when’.”
Years later, one of Susan’s clients offered to read her Tarot cards, she joked around and told Susan that “one day she’d win the lottery”.
As Susan recounts, “it was a bit of fun, we had a couple of glasses of wine, and she said, ‘I am not a fortune teller. I’m not psychic. You are picking the cards that you want and then I am just telling you what each card means.
“She sat back in her chair and said, ‘You’d best get a lottery ticket because it looks to me like you’re going to win the lottery.’ So, we just laughed about it and she went, ‘No, really. The world is your oyster.”
That same night, Susan posted what her friend had predicted on Facebook and believe it or not, her prediction was spot on!
“I was cooking tea and hearing Dale Winton’s voice in the next room. So, I ran through and I pressed pause. I went back into the kitchen and got my spaghetti carbonara to eat on my lap and as I looked up at the numbers frozen on the screen I started shaking.”
The jackpot had rolled over to £7,500,000 (R158 Million) that week, nervous, Susan dialled the number on the back of the ticket.
“When a lady answered, I said, ‘I think I’ve won the lottery.’ It’s all a bit of a blur but she told me to put my name and address on the ticket and keep it safe – and write down a password because tomorrow morning somebody will ring and they will say that password, so then I would know they were legit.” Susan did as she was told.”
Susan was buzzing with excitement and decided to go to karaoke that evening, she put her ticket in her bra for safekeeping and did not tell anyone about her win. When Susan returned home at midnight, she checked her laptop and saw that 5 people had won the jackpot which meant her prize would be £1,1 Million (R23 Million).
“There were no hysterics, no running around the room screaming. It was just this big, ‘Thank God. Thank you.’ Just absolute relief that if I was careful, I’d be OK financially for the rest of my life. I wouldn’t have to just constantly battle against the clock, squeezing in appointments.”
Susan shared the amazing news with her parents the next day, “I said, ‘I’ve won the lottery.’ And at that point, I burst into floods of tears. My mum was speechless, and my dad literally jumped up and grabbed me and said, ‘About bloody time!”
Unlike many winners who would opt to live a life of luxury after winning a major lottery, Susan continued working in her salon for the first six months after winning. Later, Susan decided to relocate to live with her boyfriend, Andrew who is a pig farmer and owns a farm in North Yorkshire. She may have chosen to lead a simple life but Susan made sure to splurge on a large motorhome which would allow her and Andrew to enjoy their motorsports hobby. She also treated her two sisters and parents to holidays and cars.
Susan maintains that the money has not changed her and is happy living her simple life, she has also asked her friends to treat her normally. She wishes that everyone could experience winning the lottery. “My advice is just be sensible,” she says. “Don’t go crazy. Appreciate that happiness can’t be bought.”
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