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Lotto Winner To Give Away Her Millions

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Lotto Winner To Give Away Her Millions

Wellington, Aug 16 NZPA - A Masterton woman who shared New Zealand's biggest-ever Lotto Big Wednesday jackpot prize of $36.9 million in June has decided to give most of her winnings to charity.

The move would make her one of the country's most generous philanthropists.

The 72-year-old, who wants to be identified only as Margaret, won $9m as part of a syndicate with her two daughters and granddaughter.

Margaret said that apart from intending to redecorate her former state home, she had no big plans for luxuries for herself.

"I've had a lot out of life; it's time to give something back. I don't need it (the money) at my age. Instead of putting it in a bucket with a bottomless hole, I can afford to give a lot more now," she told the Sunday Star-Times.

Her daughter Fiona, 41, who also won $9m, said Margaret's charitable plans "will be mum's legacy. We will set up a charitable trust, so it will keep rolling on and on, year after year, so that well after mum has gone, we will give to charities of mum's choice".

Margaret said she would keep enough to live on and give the rest away, with a focus on health-related charities.

They admitted they had received "begging letters" from individuals but they wanted to donate through a charitable trust and to registered charities to avoid crippling tax burdens.

The trust would probably be called the Shamrock Trust, in honour of her late husband John, an Irishman from County Longford.

In addition to that trust, she and Fiona, a nurse and ambulance officer, plan to make a substantial donation to the Wairarapa DHB for a new ambulance, and new equipment and training for nurses.

Fiona and her sister Siobhan both had plans to give away some of their winnings, but "down the track".

Margaret said she hoped her donations would not get chewed up by administration costs.

"I'll be putting stipulations, and I hope it will go to the sick, and not administration, but then how do we know that's what they'll do? You've got no proof that's what they'll do, it is a worry."

Fundraising Institute of New Zealand's chief executive James Austin said Margaret's gesture was "wonderful, generous" as corporate donations had dwindled in the face of the recession.


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