Life of Lottery Winners Chris & Colin Weir
A recent interview about the new lives of Colin and Christine Weir
In July 2011 a prize of €185,000,000 was claimed by Scottish couple Colin and Christine Weir. After winning the highest Euromillions prize the couple came forward publicly. Six months into their huge Euromillions win and we take a look at the life of the biggest Euromillions winners to date. What plans do they have for their money and just how much his life changed for this loveable couple?
In an interview with local newspaper the Largs & Millport Weekly News, Colin and Christine Weir reveal what's going on in the house that Euromillions built.
Many who win the lottery might be tempted to search out greener pastures, a life of nothing but blue skies and sunny days, for Colin and Christine Weir however Largs is where their heart is. They have purchased their dream home 'Knock House' on the outskirts of their little Scottish town and they're determined to remain part of the same community. With millions of euros at their disposal from the interest on their prize alone, the Weirs will never have to work again, so what is life at the stately Knock House like for the couple?
Knock House (pictured) is a beautiful (if somewhat understated) 3 storey home with it's own adjoining estate. Contrary to newspaper reports the house does not have its own cinema or swimming pool, though the pool could be a future option given Chris' love of swimming. The house was valued at offers over £1,100,000, however the savvy couple snapped it up for £850,000 which could easily be one of the interest payments on their fortune from just one month! In terms of luxury the house boasts its own rambling gardens, small forest, green houses, stables and a walled garden. The walled garden itself is a listed part of land as it was once part of Knock Castle, a historical site just next door to the Weirs.
Colin and Christine Weir Speak About Their Win
For the first time the Weirs talk publicly about their incredible stroke of luck, “We certainly regard it as providential. I am a bit of a fatalist. However, I am not entirely sure what the reason is for being so lucky” Colin said. Chris talks a little more in depth saying “I believe that things do happen for a reason, and we also believe that with great wealth comes great responsibilities”. The couple are very keen to give as much as they can back to the community, having already donated a large sum to save the Waverley Paddle Steamer, Chris says “The Waverley is so iconic, it is high up our list of causes to help. The Waverley on the Clyde is something that goes back to our childhoods”.
The Weirs On Their Charitable Intentionsser
The couple look set to give aid to many different causes. They are willing to give millions but point out that giving away such huge sums of money isn't so straightforward: “If you simply give a million pounds to anyone there is a 50% tax to be paid on it” says Colin, “We will set up a charitable foundation, spotlighting local charities that need funds”. Chris chips in “It takes a long time to set up a charitable foundation. We have to do it slowly because in order to help charities and local organisations we have to look at the tax implications for them” she adds “If we throw money at them just now they could be landed with a tax bill. “We have to set up the right structure first so that we can deal with the tax” says Colin.
"We will set up a charitable foundation, spotlighting local charities that need funds" - Chris Wier
Expressing their noble intentions Colin has said “Through what we read in the Largs and Millport Weekly News we have concentrated on local organisations. For example, we read about the fund-raising campaign for Haylie House”, a local residential care home that could really benefit from their donation. To make things easier the money will no doubt be managed by an outside source as Colin says “We know how much we want to invest in a foundation and we have people who will sit on it with us to decide the good causes”
The Weirs Discuss New Responsibilities In Life
It seems that in becoming the 22nd richest people in Scotland, with a fortune that rivals that of David and Victoria Beckham, the Weirs haven't forgotten their roots. So far, the Weirs have not let their new found riches go to their head, and will see that they don't forget where their heart and home is. The renovations on their home are even handled by local tradesmen. While in their renovations some security measures have had to be implemented, the couple express that they feel safe and secure living in Largs. Colin does joke however “At one point I was going about with Chris and a lady from Camelot and people thought I had two female bodyguards!”
While one would expect a certain amount of relaxation following this enormous win there are actually many things to be done. Colin is currently overseeing maintenance work on the house and surrounding estate and Chris -who had been previously active in the mental health profession- is continuing her work with mental health charities. As Colin looks out over his grand estate he quips “We have come out of retirement into full time jobs!”. With regards to his responsibilities though Colin -ever the joker- continues “I have responsibilities”, he points to his much loved 18 year old cat Nala, “I have to take Nala for a walk, she prances about and I follow with a glass of red wine in hand”.
On Travelling The World With €185,000,000
The jet setting international life style may be the dream of many potential Lotto winners but having just returned from a European cruise on the Queen Elizabeth Chris says “Holidays are only holidays if you do them occasionally”. She goes on however to say that “I would love to go to China and Japan, but I have travelled a lot in the States and two places I would like to visit are Chicago and Seattle”. On the subject of travelling Colin jokes that he'd be just as happy to visit “Fuey” -a local Chinese restaurant. In all seriousness though he does fancy seeing the temples in Cambodia, but concludes with an old Scottish phrase “East, west, hame's the best!”
All in all the biggest cash prize winners of the Euromillions to date seem to have kept their feet firmly on the ground, local ground at that. From a moral stand point they cannot be faulted as their charity efforts will improve the community around them, meaning that the Scottish couple won't be the only ones benefiting from their extraordinary luck.
Discussing Public Reaction To Their Win
Some might shy away from becoming local celebrities in fear that it may ruin their privacy and friendships. Initially the most popular rumour was that the Weirs had fled the country to Spain after being harassed by countless begging letters! In truth the couple had gone somewhere much closer to home: Brighton, England.
"There was the idea that we were holed up somewhere because we were terrified of begging letters" - Chris Wier
“The truth is we had business decisions to make and we like Brighton”. Make no mistake begging letters were sent in their hundreds but the Weirs had cannily paid tribute to their local post office, who did not deliver any that were not addressed correctly, and the more genuine ones were handled by the professionals at Camelot.
When asked if they feel they are treated differently by the people of Largs Chris quickly answers “I don't think so. We're no different as people. People still say congratulations, that's where it begins and ends and we have not found people intrusive. Obviously some people ask us how it feels. Most people don't want to bother you and those you know us say 'hiya'”. €185,000,000 would be enough to alter how your friends behave toward you but so far that has been a part of the Weir's lives that haven't changed “Our friends have been wonderful. We know the people we are friends with. They are the same people we have always been friends with” says Chris.
Of course as you might come to expect from this couple by now they haven't forgotten the people who have always been there for them, in fact it has been a priority to look after family and friends. “That has been one of the most pleasurable things” admitted Chris “My parents are still alive and my family would have done the same for us if the boot had been on the other foot”.
Not everyone has been so polite about their big win however and amongst accusations from some that €185 million is too much for any one couple to win, and that the prize would have been better split between 100 different winners. The Weir's response is quite simply that it isn't possible because the nature of the game is such that it's designed to have a massive jackpot, which attracts the ticket buyers in the first place. Colin said “There is no option in the lottery game”.
The Weirs On Their Lack Of Anonymity
The big question on many minds though is “Why did the Weir's go public with their win”? Chris is keen to point out that at no time did Camelot actually suggest they go public as the winners. Colin's stance was “You can't hide that some of money. People would think you were money laundering”. Chris wholeheartedly agrees saying “You can't hide it. If you were going to be anonymous you are not telling friends and family. I don't think anyone would want to make their life like that. You would be spinning stories for the rest of your lives. For people to remain anonymous about winning the lottery.....they must be telling some tall tales”. Anonymity would be even more difficult for the Weir's given their charitable intentions for the money. They point out that when it comes to giving huge sums of money to people and causes there had to be some way to verify that the money is legitimate.
Colin talks about how even before the breakthrough of social media on the world wide web with things like Facebook etc people couldn't remain anonymous, and that it would be impossible in today's world. He goes on to say “Being anonymous was a non starter. We didn't want to go away and live on a small island with no contact with the people who are important to us”. The couple state almost simultaneously “We couldn't have stayed in Largs and kept it quiet”.
Colin & Christine Weir, The Humble Multi-Millionaires
Far from the money going to their heads the Weirs seem to be taking it all in their stride. Purchases with their money include an Arthur Montford style jacket and a tractor which Chris describes as “more like a large lawnmower than you sit on”. The couple also wanted to take a step into the 21st century by making a computer one of their first purchases to take down to Brighton with them. Colin an avid football fan of Barcelona and local teams Partick Thistle and Largs Thistle said he would love to buy a season ticket for Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium but he did not fancy having to climb the stairs with his arthritic legs.
In reference to his generous donation to the SNP party and their invite from Alex Salmond to join him for dinner Colin said “We go back a long way”.
Seven months ago when the Weir's walked into their local RS McColls newsagent on Moorburn road they had no idea that they were about to buy a whole new quality of life. Fortunately though it seems that while life has gotten better for them, the money hasn't changed them as people. So far they have maintained their respect and love for the town they call home and the people therein. They are determined to make their small town on the coast of Scotland a better place to live, and we believe there hasn't been a sweeter sentiment expressed by any other Euromillions winner to date.