The Scottish couple who won £161m on the Euromillions lottery draw last month have given an exclusive interview to their local paper – after a personal plea from its editor.
Colin and Chris Weir’s jackpot win was announced at a press conference in another part of Scotland, but the couple failed to speak to their hometown paper the Largs and Millport Weekly News.
This prompted editor Drew Cochrane to publicly criticise lottery operator Camelot, claiming he had “been left chasing the world’s media” for a story that happened on his own doorstep.
And after appealing to the couple through his weekly column to get in touch, his persistence paid off with an exclusive tale in which Britain’s biggest lottery winners revealed they wanted to stay in the North Ayrshire town.
Drew made his appeal after being contacted by a number of foreign journalists who wanted to speak to the couple.
A German RTL film crew turned up at his door in Largs, and the Moscow News phoned him at his office in Ardrossan to ask about the Weirs.
Said Drew: “I wrote that I knew Colin and Chris were faithful followers and could they get in touch with me at what I called my reporter-cabin 12 miles outside of Largs.
“I added, tongue-in-cheek, that a new office would be nice, and that Inverclyde View would be good…that’s where they used to live.”
Two days later the Weirs’ Camelot representative phoned him to say that they had read his column and would like to give him an exclusive interview.
The paper ran the following exclusive open letter on the the front page: “Hello, we just wanted to write a short note to all the readers of the ‘wee paper’ and express our heartfelt thanks and gratitude for all the lovely ‘congratulation’ cards, letters and messages of support we have received these past couple of weeks.
“We feel very lucky that so many people have taken the time to contact us, although we shouldn’t have been surprised to get such a response from the town we have called home for the past 25 years.
“Life just now is incredibly busy with lots of decisions to be made. Colin and I are still over the moon and feel like this windfall has given us a second chance at life.
“Top of our list right now is to find ourselves a new home. We realised very quickly that returning to our old home, even for a short while, wasn’t going to be practical and would make life difficult for our neighbours too. However we are absolutely committed to staying in the community and hope to stay local to Largs.”
The story has now been followed up by the national press, including the Daily Mail.