A lottery winner who has given away more than half of her £115million fortune has said she is addicted to giving to others.
Frances Connolly revealed she has already blown the charity budget she agreed with husband Paddy for this year – giving away what they would have donated by 2032.
The 55-year-old former social worker and teacher has set up two charitable foundations, one in honor of her late mother Kathleen Graham in her native Northern Ireland and the PFC Trust in Hartlepool, where the couple have lived for 30 years.
On Saturday, a fundraising gala she organized with 250 guests raised more than £100,000 for the PFC Trust, which supports local young carers, the elderly and refugees.
The Connollys won EuroMillions in 2019 and immediately gave away large amounts of money to friends and family, based on a list Frances made before winning – which she always believed.
She estimates she has given away £60million, including to charity, but doesn’t keep a balance sheet and jokes she’d be worried if her husband, 57, saw it.
She said helping others, whether with money or through volunteering, has lifted people’s spirits during lockdown.
She said: “It gives you a buzz and it’s addictive.
“I’m addicted to it now.”
Ms Connolly has always been motivated to help others, volunteering for the St John Ambulance from the age of nine and setting up an AIDS hotline as a student in Belfast.
The couple, who have three daughters – Catrina, 34, and twins Fiona and Natalie, 26 – are not squandering their wealth and Ms Connolly has no desire to buy a yacht.
Her biggest spend after her win was a six-bedroom house in Co Durham with seven acres of land, while Mr Connolly drives a used Aston Martin, but Ms Connolly scoffed at the idea of spending £13,000 on a console table.
When she saw a TV show of someone in Monaco spending £25,000 on a bottle of champagne, she immediately thought it might have launched a young person up the property ladder.
Mr Connolly still runs plastics businesses while Ms Connolly devotes her time to the foundations which have supported local community groups to help people get started into work buying electronic tablets for the elderly so they can connect with their families and support refugees.
Young caregivers are particularly close to her heart, and the foundation and personal donations have bought two caravans to give them a respite.
Ms Connolly acknowledged that she could not ‘cure’ poverty on her own, so she set up the trusts to get support from other people who were being supported by the groups
she wants to help.
When asked why she was giving away so much, she said: “Oh who needs all that money? Why not?
“I’ve done that my whole life.
“I’m not funny, I would have made a millionaire anyway if I took back all the money I’ve given away over the years.
“People ask, ‘How did you manage that amount of money?’ I said, ‘I never did that. It hasn’t been at the bank for two days.
She added, “It’s still weird, but I never really had to put up with all that money because we had it for such a short time.”
Ms Connolly agreed to stop giving away large amounts but has already donated the agreed budget for 2022 – and for a decade beyond.
She said: “That was just in January … we do a budget every year, we review what we’re spending.
“We have (already) reached the budget for 2032. We may have to revise that.”
Winning such a large sum has obviously changed the couple’s lives, but Ms Connolly said it didn’t change her personality.
She said, “If you’re stupid before you understand, you’ll be stupid afterwards. Money won’t make you sane.
“Money frees you to be who you want to be.
“If I had any advice for a winner, I would say it. Think about what kind of person you are and what kind of person you want to be.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/lottery-winner-gives-away-more-than-half-her-115m-fortune-saying-helping-others-is-addictive-41591091.html Lottery winner giving away more than half of his £115million fortune and says helping others is ‘addicted’