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A lottery winner who scooped nearly three million pounds 25 years ago is still working night shifts as a shelf stacker for Marks & Spencer, saying she loves her job and never thought of giving it up.
Elaine Thompson, 64, won £2.7m in December 1995. She says she decided to carry on working so that she could be a role model for her two children, who were aged 5 and 10 at the time.
She told Chronicle Live : "It's important that children see you working hard, and that we don't get anything out of life unless you work hard for it.”
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Elaine suffers from asthma, so she’s in the high risk group for Covid-19. Even that hasn’t stopped her going into work every night, she’s just changed her hours slightly.
"The company was fantastic’” she says. “They let me go at 8.30am because I'm asthmatic and I'm vulnerable so I was not with any of the customers.
She says the 2am starts can sometimes be a little tough: ”I was leaving the house at 1.15am every morning, I get up at midnight."
"A couple of times during lockdown it was really really hard," Elaine said.
"I was driving to work thinking 'What am I doing?'
"But I kept working all the way through.
"I could not have done furlough. I'm coming up to 65 next week but I'm not ready to retire yet.”
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Elaine and her and semi-retired accountant husband Derek, 62, will celebrate 25 years since their lottery win this year, on the same date they celebrate their wedding anniversary.
They don't currently have any plans for the day, although they often like to visit Las Vegas on holiday.
Aside from dozens of trips to Vegas, the couple also helped out their son Gary, now 30, and his sister Karen, 35, to buy their first houses and get on the property ladder.
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One of the first things the couple splashed out on after winning was a new Ford Fiesta and later they bought three racehorses.
But those early supermarket shifts four days a week help to keep Elaine grounded.
"People ask me why I have not got a cleaner. If she came to clean, I would have cleaned the house before she got here.
"For me, I was brought up to be a hard worker, I love to work.
"I have got the best job in the world," she said.
Camelot’s senior winners’ advisor, Andy Carter says that a surprisingly large proportion of lottery winners refuse to give up the day job.
“Over half of National Lottery winners still work in some capacity," he says, "and just under a quarter of them have started their own business after their win, turning their hand to floristry, hairdressing – we even have one that has invented their own spicy sauce!”
- National Lottery
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