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PLATELL'S PEOPLE: Why the real jackpot is family love

PLATELL’S PEOPLE: Lotto tragedy and why the real jackpot is family love

Yesterday, I was reminded to be careful what I wish for when I read of Margaret Loughrey, who was on £58-a-week in benefits when she scooped £27 million eight years ago

Every week throughout her life, my mum put a fiver on the Lotto.

When we scoffed that she’d won only £50 in all those years, she would smile and say that when her millions did roll in, her children ‘would not find her ungenerous’.

To which we replied in chorus: ‘No, Mum, we just won’t find you!’

And yet still we all played the game of fantasising how a windfall like that would change our lives.

Well, yesterday, I was reminded to be careful what I wish for when I read of Margaret Loughrey, who was on £58-a-week in benefits when she scooped £27 million eight years ago.

Despite giving away the vast majority of her fortune to family, friends, charities and good causes, Margaret, who had suffered mental health problems, was found dead this week aged just 56.

Police said that there were no suspicious circumstances.

Clearly, not even money like that ended her troubles: in fact, there’s every sign it made them worse. Before her death, this poor woman sighed: ‘Money has brought me nothing but grief. It destroyed my life.’

Margaret is far from alone in seeing her life destroyed by her dough.

Postman Adrian Bayford won a whopping £148 million on EuroMillions back in 2012. 

His son Cameron, 13, this week came out of an induced coma after his quad bike — a gift from Dad — crashed on the family’s sprawling Suffolk estate last month. A friend said Adrian ‘feels consumed with guilt’.

The Bible asks us: ‘What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?’

It’s not just Lottery winners. Time and time again, we see that money doesn’t buy you happiness.

When Mum and I ruminated about what we would do with her imaginary fortune, in the end she always wound up by saying she’d already won life’s jackpot.

A loving husband, three kids, grandchildren, family, friends, faith and fellowship: treasures money can’t buy.

We, her children, all came to stand on our own two feet as she and Dad had taught us to, making our own way in the world.

No amount of money, she knew, can give you that most precious gift: a purpose in life.

Despite giving away the vast majority of her fortune to family, friends, charities and good causes, Margaret, who had suffered mental health problems, was found dead this week aged just 56. Police said that there were no suspicious circumstances 

Thank you for the music? Not this time. Abba devotees have waited 39 years for a new song, but then two come along at once. Some fans adore them. I beg to differ. In I Still Have Faith In You, Frida asks us: ‘Do I have it in me?’ ‘Sadly not!’ I chorus back. Doesn’t this reunion only go to show some people never have enough money, money, money?

It’s jabs not jabber!

Vaccine geniuses Sarah Gilbert and Catherine Green receive ‘hero’ awards at the GQ Men of the Year bash — only for Prince Harry to upstage them, mounting his video pulpit to whine about ‘the media’ platforming anti-vaxxers.

It would have been far more effective if this ginger whinger had simply saluted these two great women and said: ‘My granny, my dad, my ever-so-shy wife and I have all had the jab.’

Or even better, to have made like William and Kate, posted a picture of himself getting the shot — and kept his moaning mouth shut. 

Someone likes love, Harry

Two things in life make any girl lose weight: heartbreak and new love.

And after her divorce and having found new happiness with her chiselled, sports-agent boyfriend Rich Paul, mini-skirted Adele, 33, is half the woman she was . . . and let me add, looks twice as happy for it.

While I understand Helen Macdonald’s wish to keep her dear Geronimo alive, those scenes of the alpaca desperately struggling as he was dragged into a horsebox to be put to death distressed us all. How much kinder on the doomed creature it would have been if Helen had accepted the inevitable and let Geronimo be put down quietly on the farm, away from the media circus she did so much to create?

More than 12,500 migrants have crossed the Channel to enter Britain illegally this year, while the cost of housing asylum seekers has soared 42 per cent to a staggering £1.4 billion. Some of that money would be far better spent treating the millions languishing on the NHS’s world-beating waiting lists. 

A slave to woke

The posh Haberdashers’ Aske’s boys and girls schools are dropping their founder’s name. Why?

You guessed it: as well as bequeathing a fortune to build a school for East End kids 400 years ago, Robert Aske had links to slavery. Haberdashers’ motto, ‘Serve and obey’ is also being ditched, as it has vague slavery connotations — although it is a religious message to serve our Lord and obey the Ten Commandments.

It all reminds me of my school’s motto back in Australia: ‘Strive for the highest.’ How deeply offensive to short people.

When Matt Hancock quit as Health Secretary and his 15-year marriage after being caught in a steamy clinch with his lover, he told Boris in his clumsily worded resignation letter: ‘I also need be (sic) with my children.’ No sign of his kids in the pictures of Matt on holiday in the Swiss Alps this week with Gina Coladangelo. What a come-down for her! Gina’s husband is worth some £12 million, but since Matt is out of a job, the couple travelled in a Fiat 500 and stayed in a £87-a-night motel. It must be love.

n Defending his decision to check in to a five-star hotel for a holiday in Crete after he’d been warned the Taliban might imminently capture Kabul, Dominic Raab refused 11 times to reveal to MPs the dates of his holiday. Come on, Dom — it’s hardly an official secret.

n Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson slams Michael Gove, saying she is ‘embarrassed to confess we educated him’. Many thought the Prof might have been referring to the minister’s dad-dancing in a nightclub. But no: does she, like so many of her woke colleagues, simply hate the Tories?

Six years after claiming he’d rather ‘slash my wrists’ than slip on the tuxedo for yet another Bond film, Daniel Craig announces his final turn as 007 while unconvincingly claiming the role has been ‘one of the greatest honours of my life’. As if.

Over 15 long years and five films, Dan has trousered some £125 million for the pouting he mistakes for acting. The new film, No Time To Die, looks as gloomy as he is: I’m left neither shaken nor stirred.

Raving youngsters dump thousands of plastic tents after the Reading Festival, along with tons of rubbish, beer cans, soiled underwear, drugs paraphernalia and discarded positive Covid tests. The average plastic tent weighs 3.5kg and takes about 10,000 years to decompose — and yet this is the generation that bullies and hectors us oldies about saving the planet.

Coo, that’s Sharon 

Tottering in high heels and flanked by hunky male models during a Venice photoshoot, Sharon Stone coos in delight as a pigeon tries to roost in her hair. Sharon, 63, is wearing a plunging Dolce & Gabbana dress with straps across her boobs: such an eccentric outfit, anyone passing might have had a basic instinct the bird was a matching hat. 

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