Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Friday, November 12, 1999 Published at 17:46 GMT


UK

Winning loses its gloss

Cheque this out: Gary bought a string of Mercedes after the win

The National Lottery's promise that "It could be you" could be read as a threat. Winning could be thought of as a curse.

National Lottery - five years on
How to win the lottery
Winning loses its gloss
The rise, fall and rise of Camelot
Whose ‘good causes’ are they anyway?
The pressure of suddenly having to cope with tens of millions of pounds has put immense strain on some winners more used to waiting for their pay cheque.

And the story of Lee Ryan, who won £6.5m and was then jailed for handling stolen cars, is evidence that winning doesn't solve every problem.

Loser in love

When Gary Ashmore won £1.6m, he strode into the limelight with the confidence of his idol Elvis Presley.

He soaked up the glamour and the glitz, bought a small fleet of Mercedes and threw all his energy into becoming a pop star.

But now he is singing the blues.

He still lives with his mother and step-father in Reading, Berkshire, and longs for a steady relationship. He spends his lonely days in the gym and practising his new-found hobby as a medium.


[ image: Newspapers lapped up Gary's frolics in the Canary Isles]
Newspapers lapped up Gary's frolics in the Canary Isles
"I'm bored now," he said. "I miss work and mixing with people."

Gary was earning £20,000 a year as a service adviser for a Mercedes franchise in Slough when his numbers came up in 1997.

He could buy all the Mercedes he wanted - and he made a valiant effort at it.

First came a C36 saloon worth £54,000, then he swapped it for a £40,000 SLK convertible.

But that hurt his back so he changed it for a Mercedes S320, worth £54,000.

Then he realised he had to have another Mercedes, an SL320 worth £66,000.

He paid off the £80,000 mortgage on his parents' house, bought cars for his family and spent £17,000 flying three friends to Graceland, where Elvis is buried.

"After a while I got bored, so a friend and I decided to spend the winter in Gran Canaria.

"He gave up his job and we rented a bungalow for £7,000 a month, but it just turned into a drinking binge.

"We'd have two bottles of cheap wine before we went out to give us confidence with the girls and then it would be more wine, lager and eight or nine vodkas.

"We were addicted to vodka and Red Bull. But as someone who's only ever been able to handle four pints, my body took a hammering."

Concerned for his health, he returned to Britain, and a rehabilitation clinic in a battle to beat the booze.

Now nights out are the exception rather than the rule.

He has met plenty of girls, but none appear to want to form a lasting relationship with him - he even joined a dating agency.


[ image:  ]
He said: "Women are not the same. They don't like to be controlled any more.

"It's the Spice Girls and all that girl power thing."

Central TV even paid a model £360 to go out with him for a series about losers in love.

Although he has treated his friends to lavish nights out in the West End of London - limos to Stringfellows and Browns - little of the high life has rubbed off on him and he remains down to earth.

He still holidays in Tenerife, his favourite meal out is McDonald's and he shops in Top Man because he feels comfortable there.

Before his Lottery win, every Saturday night Elvis fan Gary would visit a local karaoke bar to belt out Suspicious Minds or Love Letters.

He has plugged away unsuccessfully at fulfilling his dream of being a star and talks about vague ideas of appearing in a "US soap".

"I'd like to be an icon - someone more famous than even Elvis," he says seriously.

But when asked why he thinks being a millionaire should give him a right to become a star, Gary has no anwer.

Now he is down to £1m and is living off the interest - around £5,000 a month.

"I am happy to a certain extent," he said. "But what I really want is a decent woman. That's the only thing missing - getting married and having children."





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

05 Nov 99 | UK
Lottery benefits fail to impress

30 Sep 99 | The Company File
Lottery licence bids open





Internet Links


Department of Culture, Media and Sport: National Lottery good causes

The National Lottery


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online