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Trowbridge lucky couple's roller coaster year of fun
4:00pm Thursday 2nd January 2014 in News
A Trowbridge rollercoaster fanatic has enjoyed all the fun of the fair this year after scooping a £1.4million lottery prize in April.
To celebrate his huge Lotto lucky dip win, millionaire John Alford, 76, of Studley Green, took more than 20 members of his family for a two-week summer holiday in Florida, visiting the Sunshine State’s theme parks and amusements.
The former Ushers lorry driver and his family stayed in apartments at Buena Vista Lake and had four hire cars at their disposal to get them to and from the attractions including Busch Gardens, Universal Studios and the Disney parks among others.
Mr Alford, who lives with wife Pauline, 76, said: “It was fantastic, we spent a lot of time together as a family and also did our own thing. I absolutely love rollercoasters, the faster for better for me, so I was in heaven – but I did have to sign forms to get on them because of my age.
“I have always wanted to do something like that for the whole family but never thought I’d be able to because of the cost, so I’m very happy we had the chance, thanks to the win.”
Throughout the year, Mr and Mrs Alford – who have three grown-up children; Debra, 53, Martin, 50, and Michael, 44, as well as nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren – have enjoyed several trips, holidaying in Tenerife, taking their neighbours to Cornwall and going to see West End musicals.
Mr Alford, former chairman of Studley Green Tenant and Residents Association (TARA), said: “For me, it is the memories that the money can buy rather than possessions. The big thing for us is that we don’t have any worries at all during our twilight years, there’s no need to plan, we can be spontaneous and enjoy ourselves.
“Although, I don’t think I could have coped with any more money as we’d struggle to know what to spend it on. It is a struggle to change, for example, we still go into the supermarket looking for deals and then I think to myself ‘what are you doing?’ but that is the way we’ve been brought up and lived our lives.”
Instead, of moving to more a exotic setting, the modest millionaire has instead, purchased his Studley Green home, which the Alfords had rented from Selwood Housing, and given it a makeover.
Mr Alford has also upgraded his Ford Fusion for a brand new £24,000 Nissan Qashqai.
He said: “The car is great, every gadget you could ever want is on it, I really like the 360 cameras which it has. The car was really a treat for me as I love driving.”
Despite, a healthy increase in their bank balance, Mrs Alford, doesn’t believe the couple have changed greatly since the big win.
Mrs Alford said: “I’m quite happy to let him do what he wants to do with the money as he has never ever let me go short during our marriage and I’m so happy to see him enjoying himself with a few little perks from time to time.”
The Alfords spent Christmas with their son Michael and didn’t break the bank with extravagant presents for their family.
Mr Alford said: “We didn’t want to spoil the family too much, they have done pretty well for themselves this year, being taken away to Florida, and they’ve also gone out for quite a few meals, so we wanted to have as normal a Christmas as possible.
“We’ve mostly given vouchers and money for Christmas as we are too old to know what young people want.”
Next year, they will be flying out to Cyprus for the wedding of their grandson Ryan and staying afterwards for a two-week holiday on the island. But other than that, the Alfords, who have been married for over 50 years, plan to continue letting spontaneity guide them in their adventures.
Reflecting on how the windfall has changed their lives, the couple said that they had no regrets about going public with their win and are full of praise for the support Lotto organiser Camelot gave them.
Mr Alford said: “They’ve been just fantastic every step of the way and we get invited to some of their events.
“Earlier in the year, they put on an event for previous winners at The Grove Hotel, in London, and took us all to Harry Potter World.
“We had a meal in the Great Hall and sat near the fireplace, which was fantastic.
“We don’t have any regrets about going public with the win.
“I know some people might be slightly worried because we live in Studley Green, but honestly this is a great place to live.”
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