A couple who couldn't even afford their kids' shoes before their £1m Lotto win left mystery gifts at food banks during lockdown.
Grant and Taryn Hawkes have revealed how their lives have changed after scooping the Lotto Millionaire Raffle jackpot two years ago.
The windfall could not have come at a better time for the struggling couple and their children Holly, 14 and Ethan, 11, the Mirror reports.
Grant, 43, had been diagnosed with a crippling muscle disease and had to give up work as an electrician.
It meant the family, from Newquay, Cornwall, had to get by on 42-year-old Taryn’s meagre wage as a teaching assistant.
She said: “Colleagues were offering us shoes for the children, food parcels and the odd fiver to help us pay electricity bills.
"It was so tough – I remember walking into the supermarket with five pounds for the week, wondering how I could buy enough food for the kids.”
But the lotto win changed everything overnight and the couple treated Holly to a custom-made surf board.
Ethan was so overwhelmed to receive an Xbox for Christmas that he cried at the Christmas dinner table
“He kept asking ‘Is it really mine?” Taryn said, adding that she still bursts into tears unexpectedly at the supermarket checkout.
She explained: “Little triggers like putting a nice joint of meat in my shopping trolley or not having to pause at the bargain shelf for the sell-by-date offers often hit me with no warning and I’ll just start to well-up in the middle of the shop.”
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But Taryn insists the couple will never forget their roots.
She added: “We never for a second take any of this for granted. The win helped Grant get back his health, which is something you can never put a price on.
“We’re proof that life really can turn a corner – no matter how low you go.”
The couple said they've never forgotten the help they received and revealed how they've been giving back to their community.
Taryn said: “We leave gift cards behind shop counters for other people who are struggling, we’ve given money to food banks, bought a high chair for a local domestic violence charity and we’ve helped friends who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.
“We’ve also helped the causes which once supported us in our time of need.”
The win allowed Grant to improve his health with private Yoga mindfulness classes and hydrotherapy.
A change in diet to healthy, home cooked food was also a factor that allowed him to take his first painful steps without crutches three months after the win.
Grant said: “Just not having to worry about money made such a huge difference.
“We bought a convertible BMW, a VW camper van with room for surf boards and last October, we went on our first ever foreign holiday – an all-inclusive trip to Majorca which was Taryn and the children’s first time on a plane.”
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