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Tayside and Fife’s lottery winners: How much they scooped and how they spent new fortunes

We look back at some of the most memorable Courier Country wins.

Jim and Pam Forbes from Tayport celebrate their 2017 win. Image: Kris Miller/DC Thomson
Jim and Pam Forbes from Tayport celebrate their 2017 win. Image: Kris Miller/DC Thomson

“It could be you,” the old National Lottery slogan goes.

And for some lucky people across Tayside and Fife, the finger of fate has landed firmly on them as they have scooped huge jackpots.

From workplace syndicates to family fortunes, the region has enjoyed plenty of memorable champagne-popping moments since the lottery became a national institution in 1994.

After a mystery Dundee winner emerged this week, we take a look back at some of the best winning stories through the years – including how much they won, and how they spent their new fortunes.

Montrose syndicate that workers ‘thought was a scam’

This week, 11 workers at GPG Montrose Ltd garage became the latest lottery winners when they scooped £1 million on the EuroMillions.

Speaking about the moment in February they realised they had won, Lesley Forsyth – whose husband Arthur led the syndicate – told The Courier: “For some reason we both had woken around 4am and Arthur went on his phone and saw on his email there was news about our National Lottery ticket.

The GPG Montrose Garage syndicate celebrate their win. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

“He clicked through to the National Lottery website to discover we had won £2.80.

“There was then another message saying congratulations and when he clicked through to the lottery page on that, he just started shouting, ‘Oh my goodness, our syndicate has won £1 million’.

“My first words to that were, ‘It’s bound to be a scam’.”

Some have already spent the cash on home makeovers and big holidays.

£148m win, quick divorce and lockdown baby

Perhaps the most iconic lottery win from these parts happened in 2012 when Adrian and Gillian Bayford – originally from Carnoustie – scooped a massive £148.6m.

The couple were living in Suffolk at the time but Gillian’s parents were in Angus when their daughter got the huge windfall.

Barely a year after the win it was revealed the couple were getting divorced, partly due to the stress of their new-found wealth and fame, with Gillian moving back to Tayside.

Adrian and Gillian Bayford with their winning cheque. Image: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Since then, Gillian has pursued various business and charity interests in the area – including backing the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail – while Adrian revealed at one stage he had returned to working in retail.

It was reported in 2020 that Adrian had spent more than £2m buying properties for himself and his parents in Perthshire, but they were later put on the market.

Gillian – who has also invested in property – married Brian Deans in 2018.

She revealed in 2021 she had given birth to a lockdown baby at the age of 48.

Dundee lorry driver’s ‘modest life’ despite £1m win

Dundee man Raymond Storey brought forward plans to retire as a lorry driver after winning £1m in 2014.

Speaking at the time, he said: “I’m a lucky man. It’s wonderful to know that I can enjoy my retirement secure with the freedom to do what I want.

“I’ve not decided to buy anything in particular – I’m just looking forward to living my life as I please.”

Raymond Storey retired after winning £1 million. Image: Graeme Hart

In a 2019 interview, The Courier caught up with Raymond as he discussed life as a millionaire.

He said: “My life didn’t change that much. I’m just able to do what I want when I want and live my life without any financial worries.

“We live quite a modest life really and have tried to keep our feet on the ground.”

He also took part in a Vanity Fair-inspired photoshoot to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the National Lottery.

Forfar millionaire quits job on the spot

Forfar man Jake Bowman quit his job at Ramsay Ladders after winning £10m in 2016.

Discussing the moment he realised he had won, Jake said: “I checked my number on the Sunday morning. I had a bit of a fuzzy head.

“I went for a pint with my mate and he checked the ticket. He came to the house with his girlfriend. He started crying, I started crying.”

Jake celebrates with daughter Emma. Image: DC Thomson

Discussing his plans for the cash, Jake added: “I’m not going back to my work but they know that. I’m coming up for 60 now and that’s it.”

He later revealed he had bought a £360,000 mansion outside of the town – for £80,000 less than the asking price.

Dreams come true for ‘Joe Bloggs’ from Tayport

Tayport man Jim Forbes said “dreams can come true” after winning £655,000 on the EuroMillions with wife Pam in 2017.

He said: “You need to be in it to win it. I’m just a Joe Bloggs but it shows normal people can win.”

Jim and Pam joined other lottery winners supporting The Yard earlier this year. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson

The couple have largely kept out of the spotlight since, but Jim and Pam joined other lottery winners earlier this year in helping Dundee charity The Yard build a new playhouse after it was vandalised.

As well as donating money, the group spent two days painting and furnishing the jungle-themed house.

River Tay apartment and £8m Perthshire estate

Lesley and Fred Higgins were living in Laurencekirk at the time of their huge £58m EuroMillions win.

The pair snapped up a £430,000 apartment overlooking the River Tay in Dundee following their windfall.

They then moved to a £705,000 property in Broughty Ferry in 2019 before making an £8m Perthshire estate their home in 2021.

Fred and Lesley Higgins celebrate their win.

But the couple – who also backed The Yard project – still give lots of time to charity.

Lesley said: “It’s very refreshing to have the financial security.

“It’s also great to be able to be able to help charities and to help other people.

“It gives you a buzz.”