Spreading The Wealth: Here’s How A Generous Couple Have Given Away Over Half Their £114.9 Million Lottery Winnings In Less Than Two Years

Showing The Billionaires How It’s Done 

What would you buy if you won over £100 million on the lottery? 

A fancy car? A whole load of fancy cars? A whole load of fancy houses with fancy garages where you could store all your fancy cars and never use them because you were off sailing from impossibly over-priced pretentiously pretentious port to impossibly over-priced pretentiously pretentious port on one of your multiple super yachts drinking £50k bottles of champagne for breakfast every morning while pondering which super car and super house and superly superflous ‘super’ indulgence you should spend some of your infinite ‘wealth’ on next? (Okay maybe you’d need a little more than £100 million for this kind of nonsense, but you know what I mean.)

On new year’s day 2019, while living in a rented terrace house in County Down, Frances and Patrick won £114.9 million on the EuroMillions lottery, and have since embarked on the ‘biggest lottery giveaway ever,’ giving over half their fortune away already in just less than two years.

It’s certainly a tempting lifestyle, and I can see how you might get sucked into it. Actually having that kind of money is incomprehensible to pretty much all of us, and it’s impossible for one to know how they’d react to it. It could go either way. 

I’d love to think that I’d use the money for good; give most of it away to people in need, invest in nature conservation projects and try to fix the planet, use the money to try and end homelessness for good. Maybe even invest in alternative money projects so money would no longer be a thing and we could move on to a better system of trade that works for everybody? These are all lovely thoughts.

But it’s just as likely that I’d be off around the world dancing on diamond-plated tables wearing diamond-plated shoes, jetting off to all the best party spots and paying people to drive me around in diamond-plated super cars because I couldn’t be bothered to learn how to drive myself. Maybe I’d even try and use the money to genetically engineer a Penguin that can speak to humans and likes to party? Maybe even a diamond-plated party Penguin? I mean who flaming knows how they’d react to winning that kind of money?

Well two quietly wonderful folks who may have reacted in the best way possible to winning that kind of money are Frances and Patrick Connolly from Northern Ireland.

On new year’s day 2019, while living in a rented terrace house in County Down, Frances and Patrick won £114.9 million on the EuroMillions lottery, and have since embarked on the ‘biggest lottery giveaway ever,’ giving over half their fortune away already in just less than two years.

Here is Frances and Patrick Connolly receiving their big bad cheque on New Year’s day 2019. They have already given away over half of their winnings!

At the time of the win Frances stated that “It’s going to be so much fun giving it away”, and that “the pleasure for me is going to be seeing their faces.”

Well the generous couple have certainly lived up to that promise and put smiles on many many faces since.

Here’s a look at how Frances and Patrick Connolly are showing people with more money than sense how they can use their bewildering privilege to make the world a better place. 

Taking Care of Family and Friends

After winning the gargantuan sum of money back in January 2019, Patrick Connolly stated that “I’ve got a wonderful wife, a wonderful family and wonderful friends, so this is the icing on the cake.”

I think it’s a wonderfully wholesome way of seeing things to consider family and friends the most important thing, with £114.9 million just being a welcome added extra. And it’s clear from the Connolly’s actions since winning the money that this was far from an empty statement, because as soon as their cake was covered in icing, they started scraping the icing back off and handing it out to the folks closest to them.

The Connollys could have bought a whole array of preposterous things with their winnings, like this diamond-plated turbo-charged cotton candy machine, but instead, they decided to give a whole load of their winnings away to their loved ones. Now that’s proper diamond-plated behaviour!

Within hours of winning the big prize, the couple started compiling a list of friends and families they wanted to help. They paid off mortgages for friends and family, gave all their nieces and nephews money to buy their own homes and bought homes for other friends and family, bought direct gifts for over 150 families, and generally secured the futures of the people closest to them. An incredible showing of generosity and a great example for all of us when we win the EuroMillions jackpot too!

Like any sane humans would do, the Connollys also secured their own future, buying a large bungalow with 5 acres of land near Hartlepool in the UK where they raised their kids. Apparently their estate agents were trying to show them castles and big country manors and they were having none of that extravagant nonsense, fair play to them.

Within hours of winning the big prize, the couple started compiling a list of friends and families they wanted to help. They paid off mortgages for friends and family, gave all their nieces and nephews money to buy their own homes and bought homes for other friends and family, bought direct gifts for over 150 families, and generally secured the futures of the people closest to them.

With financial futures secured for themselves and those closest to them, Frances and Patrick decided to spend the rest of the money on a fleet of environmentally questionable private jets and seventy five penthouse apartments in Las Vegas. Haha, just kidding, they did nothing of the sort!

With their loved ones taken care of, the Connollys immediately focused their attention on helping the wider community. What a pair of legendary legend legends.

Nourishing Communities Through Charity Work

Frances has been doing voluntary work since she was 9 years old, and before the lottery win she worked for years at the Aycliffe Young People’s Centre in England, so helping people in her community has always been a big part of her life. This did not come to a stop after she and Patrick hit the big time.

After helping out their family and friends, Frances and Patrick then committed assumedly a large chunk of their winnings to setting up two charities; the PFC Trust in Hartlepool, and the Kathleen Graham Trust in Northern Ireland. 

Just as it’s incomprehensible to imagine what it’s like to win nearly £115 million, it’s also incomprehensible to imagine the scale of the collective impact Frances and Patrick’s charity work has already had on people, and the impact it will continue to have in the future.

The PFC Trust 

The PFC Trust is dedicated to improving the lives and the life chances of the people of Hartlepool. The trust (so Frances and Patrick basically) provides funding for organisations that are already assisting people in the town. The charity’s guiding principal is about ‘helping people to help themselves,’ and they also strive to give guidance and to connect other relevant organisations where possible. 

The trust has so far supported an organisation called ‘The Poolie Time Exchange’ (which ‘offers trial job interviews, advice on money management, mindfulness workshops and exchanges of skills and knowledge’), provided funds for Hartlepool College of Further Education, and assisted many other organisations as you can see on their website. (When you consider the amount of money that must go into funding all of these projects and organisations, you realise; that’s a whole lot of generosity right there!)

Just a few of the things the PFC Trust is helping make possible by supporting the Poolie Time Exchange.

The Kathleen Graham Trust 

The Kathleen Graham Trust was named after Frances’s late mother Kathleen, apparently quite a generous soul herself, and was founded ‘to support and enrich the lives of all sections of the communities in Strabane and Belfast.’ 

As you can see here, just like the PFC trust, this charity is already helping some incredible organisations to flourish, and has no doubt improved the lives of countless people throughout these communities. (I mean Lamborghinis and super yachts are super nice and all, but what about setting up charities that result in entire communities of young and vulnerable people having a better quality of life and more opportunities for success than they would have had before? My goodness, now that sounds like a proper show of wealth to me.)

Other Charity Work

As well as setting up and funding these two charities, Frances also set up a small charity shop in Hartlepool called ‘Jumpers and More’ which provides free clothes and toiletries for refugees who arrive with nothing, and for local families who lose possessions in fires. She has also helped to pull together local food providers and soup kitchens in the north-east of England into a consortium, working together to feed the hungry.

Just as it’s incomprehensible to imagine what it’s like to win nearly £115 million, it’s also incomprehensible to imagine the scale of the collective impact Frances and Patrick’s charity work has already had on people, and the impact it will continue to have in the future.

So many people have already been positively effected by this work, and when you take the butterfly effect into account, the mind actually begins to boggle. 

And the boggling doesn’t stop there! Boggle boggle boggle, boggle.

As well as pouring money into their community-nourishing charities, Frances and Patrick just can’t seem to help themselves helping even more people outside of their official charity work. 

Constant Generosity 

It seems as if the Connollys have helped out pretty much everyone in need who’s crossed their path since their lottery win. 

Apparently, Frances actually gets up at 6am these days to answer all the messages and emails she receives, and has been known to work 18 hours a day on her various charitable projects. Not exactly the kind of lifestyle you would expect a newly-minted multi-millionaire to lead!

Aside from all the good work they’re doing through their charities, they have also paid for a local Hartlepool-based charity that offers energy advice and affordable business space to install an elevator so that wheelchair users can access the upstairs offices. They have paid for a young father who was injured in an accident to modify his electric power chair so he can go on off-road explorations with his daughter once again. And they are also covering the cost for a young refugee boy to travel to his preferred secondary school for the remainder of his education.

Considering the nature of these kind folks, I’d imagine there are many more stories like these ones that have not been officially reported.

Apparently, Frances actually gets up at 6am these days to answer all the messages and emails she receives, and has been known to work 18 hours a day on her various charitable projects. Not exactly the kind of lifestyle you would expect a newly-minted multi-millionaire to lead!

In response to the Covid19 pandemic Frances even stated that “Patrick bought another business just to make sure people had work” during the crisis; a pretty decent reason for purchasing a new business if you ask me.

And that’s not all Frances and Patrick have done to help people during the pandemic. The wee saints!

Helping People During the Pandemic 

2020 has been a challenging year for *nearly all of us. 

The pandemic has put a strain on almost everybody in one way or another, with the notable exception of the world’s super rich who have actually become much richer during the crisis, the greedy evil expletiving expletives!

But unlike many of these wealth-hoarding parasitic demon creatures, Frances and Patrick have used their money to try and limit the effects of the pandemic on those around them as much as possible.

When you add all of this up, it’s clear that a lot of lives have been improved and protected as a result of the Connolly’s generosity, at a time when generosity is needed most.

They have bought new sewing machines for charity workers making PPE for health workers. They have contributed supplies to a charity making face visors for front line workers. They have funded hot meal deliveries for folks sheltering alone and in need, gifted £50 thank you vouchers for 150 frontline workers, contributed to a befriending service for those living alone, provided laptops for secondary school students to learn online, and even helped with a teddy bear’s picnic for 400 families.

They have also paid for hundreds of iPads so that elderly patients in nursing homes can contact their families, and so young carers are able to work from home. On top of this, they donated hundreds of pairs of pyjamas, nightdresses, and basic toiletries to care-home residents who were being discharged from hospitals without these things because families were not allowed to bring things from home.

Some of the tablets handed out to nursing home patients so they can contact their families during the pandemic.

When you add all of this up, it’s clear that a lot of lives have been improved and protected as a result of the Connolly’s generosity, at a time when generosity is needed most.

With Christmas on the horizon, it seems their generosity is not about to run out any time soon! 

A Generous Christmas, and a Kinder New Year? 

As this ridiculous year of frustration, heartbreak, and sheer madness comes to an end, Frances and Patrick’s story of unrelenting generosity, kindness, and compassion has given me a welcome sliver of hope for humanity, and for a better, kinder 2021.

At the end of such a miserable year, to help make Christmas that little bit better for people directly effected by Covid in Hartlepool and Northern Ireland, Frances and Patrick have decided to start playing Santa.

They have so far purchased a thousand gift-packs of ‘sweet-smelling toiletries’ as gifts for patients who will be in hospital on Christmas day, as well as dozens of computers, laptops and internet dongles for local youngsters who are caring for their loved ones. A really lovely gesture, and hopefully one that will bring warmth to the hearts of folks going through hard times this Christmas. 

After two years of doing their charity work and countless generous deeds in relative anonymity, Frances decided it was important to ‘speak out now at the end of 2020 to help draw attention to the good work being done by so many people for charity during the pandemic.’ She made it clear here that she was talking about other people’s charity work, and not her own.

Well I’m glad she did decide to speak out, because as this ridiculous year of frustration, heartbreak, and sheer madness comes to an end, Frances and Patrick’s story of unrelenting generosity, kindness, and compassion has given me a welcome sliver of hope for humanity, and for a better, kinder 2021.

Let’s hope all the gazillionaires of the world have heard their story too.

About the Author

Adam Millett is a freelance writer for hire who specialises in sustainability and environmental issues. He believes the economy should be circular, businesses should make the world a better place, and that effective content is the best way to spread the word about sustainability. Visit his website at wordchameleon.com if you want to bring your vision of sustainability to life.

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