I won £22million in the National Lottery, but my mum said she 'didn't want to know me'

A LUCKY player who won an incredible £22 million jackpot revealed how friends and family turned their backs on him – but he never changed.

Mark Gardiner's life changed forever when he won the National Lottery prize with business partner Paul Maddison, but not in the way he thought it would happen.

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Mark Gardiner continued his small glass business after the winCredit: Alamy
The jackpot scooper is now happily married to his fifth wife Bridget

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The jackpot scooper is now happily married to his fifth wife BridgetCredit: Rex
Mark and business partner Paul Maddison won the life-changing award in 1995

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Mark and business partner Paul Maddison won the life-changing award in 1995Credit: Rex

Despite his eye-watering windfall, Mark made no plans for early retirement almost thirty years ago and continued to run his glass business.

He told the Daily Mail that the job was his “safety rail” and that he was “sticking to” his normal way of life.

“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,” Mark added.

The business owner said there was “no manual” to becoming a multi-millionaire overnight, which was “overwhelming.”

To this day, Mark is responsible for overseeing his company Croft Glass, but there is now more flexibility for the occasional day off.

However, the 61-year-old, from Battle, Hastings, did spend money on a luxury car, supercars, a lavish holiday home in Barbados and a yacht.

But he kept his feet on the ground, an admirable quality that the winner credits with keeping his job.

Camelot even recruited Mark to become an advisor to fellow winners.

The down-to-earth jackpot scooper said he would be 'too honest' with people about the harsh reality of bagging a mega prize.

I bought a fancy minivan with my huge lottery winnings, but I traded it in for a tiny house on wheels and left city life

He said, “The analogy I like to use is that whatever was going on in your life – all the little seeds that were planted – victory pours water on them all and they all sprout.”

Mark admitted he had a “little box” of problems before his windfall, which later led to a “much bigger box” landing on his doorstep.

FAMILY TIES

The winner said £22 million did not help him with his family relationships.

He said he was adopted and contacted his birth mother before he won.

Mark also tried to reach out after winning the jackpot, but he got the same response from her new husband.

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

Mark Gardiner Winner of the National Lottery

“He told me during a phone conversation that Mom didn't want to know me then, and she didn't want to know me now.”

But despite telling Mark they wanted nothing to do with him, they went to the press instead.

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

MARRIAGE OUTCOMES

Mark also went through a bitter divorce from his third wife Kim, with whom he shares a daughter.

He had moved on with wife number four Brenda, and the couple also welcomed a daughter together.

Unfortunately, the huge win has done little to repair the father's relationship with his now estranged children.

Mark admitted that he has “tried everything” to build bridges and will continue to “show how hard [he] fought for contact”.

You can't buy Bridget. We married too early, we both agreed, but we knew we were for each other

Mark GardinerWinner of the National Lottery

“The ad says, 'It could be you,' but it could be, 'This could be you: fighting with your sister; angry at your mother, sued by your ex-fiance.' Are you going to run out and buy that ticket?” Mark added.

Despite his marital problems, the winner has now found true love in the arms of Bridget.

The couple had tied the knot years earlier, before divorcing and finding their way back to each other.

“You can't buy Bridget. We married too early, we both agreed, but we knew we were for each other,” Mark revealed.

CIRCLE OF TRUST

After making his jackpot public, Mark and business partner Paul were inundated with requests – even proposals.

The business owner recalled “bags of mail” being sent to Croft Glass from family, people they barely knew from school, and “anyone from the past who felt a grievance.”

To surround himself with people he could trust, Mark threw his money on four friends.

He gave them each a £100,000 house, but eventually 'they all fell out with him'.

If you keep your money close you're tight, if you buy a round in the pub you're flashy Harry

Mark GardinerWinner of the National Lottery

Mark explained: “It was complicated.

“They were called thugs and bullied by their friends. In some ways you can't win.

“If you keep your money close, you're in a tight spot. If you buy a round in the pub, you're a flash Harry.”

Looking back on the decision, the winner admitted that he would not have bought the houses for his friends.

BUSINESS PARTNER DISAPPEARED

Before securing the eye-watering victory, Mark and Paul had enjoyed an after-work pint in the pub on Friday.

But things changed shortly after they received their check and Paul disappeared from his business partner's life.

He moved to a 100-acre estate in rural Scotland and was unable to keep in touch with anyone for 28 years.

If we hadn't won the lottery, we would have had a beer on Friday evening. I don't understand it and now I never will understand it again

Mark GardinerWinner of the National Lottery

There were rumors that Paul was broke when he died last year at the age of 73.

Mark said: “We worked together every day, we knew each other's halves.

“If we hadn't won the lottery, we would have had a beer on Friday evening. I don't understand it and now I will never understand it again.”

TO PROCEED

Mark continues to warn people to be careful what they wish for.

But despite the family's grief, the loss of a business partner and being dumped by friends, Mark said he has no regrets.

However, the businessman said he “probably would have invested in property rather than continuing with Croft Glass”.

And the multi-millionaire has one last plan: to jump into the jungle with I'm A Celebrity.

“I would love to be on I'm A Celebrity because even money can't buy that,” said Mark.

LOTTO curse

It comes as another lucky couple thought they had won just £2.60 on the lottery, but soon discovered they had won the £61million jackpot.

Richard and Debbie Nuttall, both 54, from Colne, Lancashire, took home the life-changing sum in the EuroMillions draw on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

But now Debbie is embroiled in a long-running family dispute with her estranged brother Glen, who claims he hasn't seen a cent.

The 53-year-old revealed how he heard about her staggering winnings through a newspaper article.

He told The Mirror: “My son messaged me and said, 'Dad, I know you don't want to know, but look at this' and he sent me a clipping from the newspaper.”

Glen is currently living in temporary accommodation with his autistic son while on benefits, he claimed.

But he doesn't expect a cent from his older sister's huge windfall.

Furious, he said, “Hang up a begging bowl? Absolutely not.”

Elsewhere in the country, a lottery winner has hit back after being accused of pocketing a £1million jackpot after breaking away from her boyfriend.

Read more about the Irish sun

Charlotte Cox, 37, has heavily criticized her ex-partner. Michael Cartlidge's 'nonsense' claims he is entitled to half the huge winnings.

Ex-Spalding couple Lincs are locked in a nasty war over who deserves the life-changing £1 million payout.

Four people who won a lot and lost everything

Mark isn't the first lottery winner to suffer massive setbacks after winning the jackpot…

Callie Rogers

  • She became Britain's youngest lottery winner when she won £1.9 million in 2003.
  • Eighteen years after her victory, Callie was revealed to be claiming Universal Credit after losing her fortune. The revelation came during a trial after she was involved in a car accident while taking cocaine in December 2020.

Michael Caroll

  • The self-styled 'King of Chavs' was 19 when he won £9,736,131 from the National Lottery in November 2002.
  • Carroll's wife, Sandra, left him just a month after their wedding in 2003 after she was shocked by his incessant partying and accused him of cheating on her with sex workers.
  • He was also given an ASBO for terrorizing his neighbors and spent time in prison for affray and failing to comply with a drug treatment order.
  • In February 2010, Michael was declared bankrupt and claimed Jobseeker's Allowance.
  • He lost his entire fortune and was found in 2019 working for £10 an hour chopping wood and delivering coal.

Gillian and Adrian Bayford

  • The couple's lives changed in 2012 when they raked in a whopping £148 million.
  • But just 15 months after the victory, their eight-year marriage ended, with both parties partly blaming stress for their stunning victory.
  • Gillian is now with fraudster Brian Deans, who was jailed for six months in 2012 after stealing £13,500 in fake refunds from Tesco.

Margaret Loughrey

  • She earned £27 million in 2013, becoming Northern Ireland's biggest winner at the time.
  • Tragically, Margaret, now in her 50s, was found dead in her home in September 2021.
Mark bought houses for four of his close friends, but admitted he regretted it

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Mark bought houses for four of his close friends, but admitted he regretted itCredit: Alamy

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