EVER wondered what it’s like to win the lotto? KATE CLARKE meets the Loughor retirees who have just done exactly that.
IT was just a quiet whisper.
But it said so much!
I'd been interviewing new Lotto millionaire Carol Lisk and husband Tommy. As I left, I told her just how glamorous she looked.
She did too. She took me to one side and hugged me. Then she whispered the secret to her chic and stylish look — "The dress was £16 from Asda and the shoes are M&S!"
So I guess Carol and her husband Tommy's £3,083,088 windfall, which fell into their laps on Saturday, March 9, won't be turning the pair into rampant and irresponsible spenders anytime soon.
The pair, a life-long miner and a retired hospital domestic, spent most of Thursday last week gently glowing under camera flashbulbs and media attention, looking visibly dazzled by their new-found riches and at a bit of a loss to come up with firm plans for the cash.
One thing is for sure though, their 50th wedding anniversary party, at the end of the month, at their regular quiz night haunt, will go with a bang.
"The party was planned before the Lotto win," says Carol, aged 68 from Loughor.
"We are going to the Reverend James in Loughor.
"We just wanted 20 friends and family there and we wanted the Reverend James because Tommy likes going there for the quiz. We didn't want anywhere too big because if you are all on a long table you don't get the chance to talk to people or to see people," says Carol.
The pair tied the knot in Neath's St Joseph's Church in 1963 after meeting on Rotherslade Beach.
"Do we always celebrate our anniversary in a big way?
"She is lucky to get a card, laughs Tommy, aged 77.
"That isn't true," Carol jumps in, "He always remembers our anniversary. I tend to forget."
We all know the lottery is a game of chance, and a game of very slim chance at that, but Carol and Tommy are the kind of grounded couple who give us on-lookers that fairytale ending we crave.
The pair radiate the kind of contentment that settled couples do — money or no money.
And while the sudden arrival of £3 million in your bank account, on the back of a Lucky Dip ticket, can't fail to shake your world, it seems unlikely their lives will suffer the toxic effects which dog some winners.
The National Lottery has created thousands of sudden millionaires since it began and Camelot nudges many of those towards therapy to help them deal with the pressures of the cash and with the envy of others.
Tommy is a lifelong football pools player and he has marked his lottery card every week too since it began.
He says matching those numbers one by one was quite an experience.
"I get my lottery ticket from the local garage and I went up last Sunday morning to get the paper.
"They give you slips to show the winning numbers, so I went home and checked them – I got one, I got 2, I got 3, I thought, 'great, that's £10', then it just carried on."
Carol was still in bed at the time, it being Sunday morning.
And when Tommy broke the news she was sceptical, as wives sometimes are.
"I said 'yes, yes Tommy, wonderful, I'm on my way to the bathroom', because Tommy is always playing practical jokes.
"And he said it again, no, Carol, we have won the Lotto."
The pair split the jackpot with one other winner.
Tommy remembers: "I went to the computer to see how much we had won and I was cursing the other winner.
"You know, I won a fortnight ago too. I had £60 for four numbers. I tell you, there wasn't all of this fuss that time!"
Looking after their children, Mark and Stephen, and making sure their grandchildren are secure, are their top priorities.
And they will continue to support the cancer charities and children's charities they already back.
Then they might spoil themselves with a honeymoon, since they ploughed their money into their bungalow — where they still live — after they wed, instead of taking a sunshine trip.
A holiday home in Majorca might be on the cards, and they may leave their bungalow, but they won't stray too far says Tommy: "I want to see the roof of my club in Pengry Road!"
When I ask them though, whether there are any of life's luxuries they have denied themselves over the years that they might splurge on, they both say 'no, nothing really. We've always lived a contented life.'
The win will certainly give them something they haven't always been able to rely upon though.
"It will give us security," says Tommy.
"At the start money was a problem for us, but gradually I had a good job and we were more comfortable. We couldn't have everything we wanted but we were comfortable."
The pair had already put a holiday in the diary — a Baltic cruise — before their numbers came up, but they have made one concession to luxury on that score.
"That is a different story, beams Tommy.
"We had an inside cabin and we have upgraded it to a deluxe!"