£58 million lottery couple’s gift to north-east

A north-east couple who scooped almost £58 million in the lottery have revealed plans to set up their own charitable trust, focusing on local causes.

Fred and Lesley Higgins, from Laurencekirk, who beat the odds to win the UK’s 14th largest-ever lottery jackpot in July, said their £57,957,367 EuroMillions windfall is finally “beginning to sink in”.

And now, nine months on, plans are afoot for the pair to set up their own charitable trust, which “for the most part” will focus on local causes.

Speaking to the Evening Express at the Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen, Lesley said: “We’ve got meetings coming up in the next couple of weeks with the lawyers about setting up a charitable trust and how we’re going to make it work.

“We don’t want to be too prescriptive about it. It would be local charities or smaller charities.

“We’ve helped a few causes out in Laurencekirk and we’ve got our eye on a couple more there so we’ll just have to see.”

Fred revealed he is also keen for a donation to be made to support the Air Ambulance Service and to focus on helping younger people.

He said: “There’s a lot of people who wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Air Ambulance Service.

“My preference would also be towards helping young and younger people. I don’t mean just kids but anything between five and 25.

“It’s a difficult time of life.”

© DC Thomson
Jackpot winners Fred and Lesley at the Marcliffe Hotel, Aberdeen

At the time of their win the pair had spoken about buying property abroad with far-flung locations including Barbados under consideration.

But the down-to-earth couple have so far remained committed to Scotland and continue to own their home in Laurencekirk.

They have also bought a penthouse flat overlooking the River Tay in Dundee and are to buy a five-bedroom home in the city, where they will eventually spend most of their time.

Lesley said: “That (Barbados) was before it sunk in.

“It was just to get an idea of what we could afford as it was such a silly number.

“We had a look at something in Malta when we were there at the back end of the year.

“Not specifically but just on paper and I thought do I really want to? Scotland is home.

“It’s just what you know and what you’re familiar with.

“Whether we buy property or not I don’t know.

“We won’t say definitely yes or definitely no.”

The couple have also bought a flat in Glasgow for their only daughter, who they said seems to be taking “everything in her stride”.

And the pair said while they don’t believe the money has changed them, it has provided a “comfort”.

Fred said: “I hope we haven’t changed very much.

“Our attitude to other people is important.

“I don’t personally think about the money at all in any shape or form. I just know it’s there.”

Meanwhile Lesley said the pair reject the “red carpet treatment”.

She said: “I didn’t feel comfortable going into the likes of Harrods and buying a Mulberry bag, of which I’ve got several now. But the first time I thought ‘I can’t spend that on a handbag’ and I did and it kind of broke the ice.”

She continued: “I was told at the time if you have one of these on your arm you’ll be treated differently, and I was.

“That’s one of the things I find completely crass about society.

“It shouldn’t matter how much money you have to get good service.

“We don’t like the red carpet treatment.

“We’re still who we were before.”