I won £22 million… when I tried to buy food the next day my card was declined

A MAN who split a £22 million Lotto jackpot win has recalled the moment his card was declined when he tried to buy food the next day.

Mark Gardiner, from Hastings, East Sussex, took the money with his friend Paul Maddison in 1995.

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Mark Gardiner said the day after winning £11million his card was declined when he tried to buy foodCredit: Alamy
Paul and wife Bridget married young and divorced, but have now remarried

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Paul and wife Bridget married young and divorced, but have now remarriedCredit: Rex
Mark grabbed the windfall with his friend Paul Maddison

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Mark grabbed the windfall with his friend Paul MaddisonCredit: Rex

The duo ran a small glass company together, which Paul soon left behind after his windfall, but Mark decided to continue working.

The now 61-year-old chooses not to let his £11 million go to his head and still has a hands-on role at the company.

And while he enjoyed the money – splurging on a new house, a holiday home and cars – he remained modest.

When he was told he couldn't buy a weekly shop the day after his victory, he made his bank pay for their mistake.

Mark said: “The Friday after my win we went shopping and my card was declined.

“I was going crazy, and it was all, 'Oh sir, I apologize.'

One minute I had £11 and the next minute I had £11 million and, if I'm honest, I was probably scared

Mark Gardiner

“But they had their chance, so I closed that account.”

The businessman went on to explain that the thought of his family never having to struggle is a huge comfort.

Recalling times when he had nothing left in his account because of the glazing company, Mark said: 'We never went bankrupt.

“We had a staff of three, everyone got paid, we could go to the pub on Fridays.

We thought we had only won £2.60, but when we checked the bill again it said we had scored a EuroMillions jackpot of £61 million

“But like hundreds of other companies, there were times when there was very little in the bank account.”

Despite the relief that millions showed up one morning, Mark said the sheer amount was “overwhelming” and he was “immediately scared”.

He added: “One minute I had £11 and the next minute I had £11 million and, if I'm honest, I was probably scared.

'Nothing prepares you for it.

“Camelot didn't give us an instruction book, there was no manual, we didn't take a course; you get it, boom, please. It's quite overwhelming.”

Lotto dropout

He said the number of people who came out of the woodwork after the jackpot was announced was “bizarre”.

Just months before the victory, Mark, who was raised by his adoptive mother, contacted his biological parents.

He was soon rejected by his birth mother's new husband, who told Mark that “mommy didn't want to know me.”

But after hearing about his jackpot, the man ran for the papers and claimed Mark had to move them.

Mark added: “He never came to me directly but he gave an interview to the newspapers claiming I should pay to move them as the publicity had been very difficult.”

The millionaire tried to help his friends and bought them all a £100,000 house, but the four friends ended up falling out with him.

Mark lost contact with fellow winner Paul 28 years ago shortly after victory.

Read more about the Irish sun

He said the check ultimately led to the demise of their friendship and is something he never understands to this day.

Paul, 73, died late last year – in circumstances that are not known – after moving to a 100-acre estate in Scotland.

Mark with his then wife Brenda McGill (right) and Paul and his wife Ruth Retrocon

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Mark with his then wife Brenda McGill (right) and Paul and his wife Ruth RetroconCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

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