Teen lottery millionaire moves back home with mum

Jane Park takes it easy on a shopping trip to Harvey Nichols. Picture: Jane Barlow
Jane Park takes it easy on a shopping trip to Harvey Nichols. Picture: Jane Barlow
17
Have your say

ONE of the UK’s youngest lottery winners has told how she moved back home to Niddrie after growing lonely in her plush three-bedroom detached home.

Jane Park, 19, who scooped £1 million with her first ever lotto ticket, now works night-shift in a taxi office to pass the time.

Since she won £1 million on her first ever Euromillions ticket, the teenager has amassed a collection of more than 50 pairs of expensive trainers, bought a house, spent months on holiday, lavished cash on family and friends and is now preparing to pack her bags for a first-class flight to see in the new year in New York.

But while her spend, spend, spend, spend lifestyle sounds like a dream come true, today the former Holy Rood High pupil reveals the desperate lows of having too much money – from the loneliness of not being able to share the good life with her less well-off friends to finding herself a target for vicious online trolls.

And, incredibly for someone who has hundreds of thousands of pounds sitting in the bank, the teenager confirms she has now started working night shift manning the telephones in a local taxi firm office to help ease the boredom.

“I did my first shift the other night and I really enjoyed it,” she says. “It means if I end up getting really bored and wanting a job, I’ll be able to say I have experience of doing that as well as having worked in an office and doing a bit in a hairdressers before.”

As well as working as a taxi controller, the 19-year-old has been involved in organising teen club nights at venues in Edinburgh, Dunfermline and Falkirk.

But in a fly on the wall-style BBC Scotland documentary which followed the teen from her win until now, she admits the massive amount was initially baffling and when it came to sharing some with family and friends, she was plunged into confusion. “I didn’t realise just how much money it was,” she adds. “The hardest decision was how much to give family and friends.

“I got through it by just making my own mind up and if they didn’t like it they didn’t have to take it.”

Jane was 17 when she scooped £1m on the first lottery ticket she had ever bought. Unlike many lottery winners who keep their news secret, she quickly announced her win on Facebook.

But as news spread, she found herself subjected to nasty comments and even personal abuse about her looks.

Others seized on her support for Hibs and desperately tried to convince her to blow around half a million pounds of her winnings buying back Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths.

“There have been online comments like ‘You’re ugly’ which does hurt,” she says. “But it’s just people who obviously have nothing better to do.

“Sometimes I want to retaliate, but I don’t. Instead I just wonder why they are that bothered about me. Or sometimes someone will put up something nasty and I’m sound about it, I just say ‘thanks babe’ and they can’t understand why I’m being OK about it. But it is horrible.”

The highs and occasional lows of the teenage lottery winner’s first 18 months were captured on film for Wednesday night’s BBC Scotland documentary, from the moment she discovers the lucky dip ticket bought from Abdul Rasheed Dabafum’s Broughton Street shop in July 2013 had scooped her a £1m cash pot, through her spending sprees, partying and periods of loneliness as she found herself home alone with plenty of money but no-one to match her spending power.

It reveals how the mammoth win presented the teenager with a series of dilemmas over how to spend it, and even left her pitifully lonely in her plush new three-bedroom detached home.

At one point the excruciating solitude of being one of the youngest millionaires around led Jane to tearfully beg her friend to quit her job and cash in her savings so she could keep her company in Magaluf.

However, there have been plenty of good times too – such as her lavish 18th birthday party in which she dressed Katie Price-style in a puffy strapless gown, her hard partying and her delight at being able to splash out on designer clothes, expensive handbags and even a Paris Hilton-style pet Chihuahua called Princess.

Jane bought the Euromillions ticket on the spur of the moment after spotting a billboard announcement that the weekend draw would produce 100 millionaires. She had to produce ID proving she was over 16 before the shopkeeper would agree to sell her the ticket.

Her raffle numbers came up trumps – scooping her the six-figure sum. Her first reaction was a breathless plea: “What will I do?”

Instead of quitting work straight away, she saw out her office job contract with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations to avoid leaving them in the lurch.

Her first splurge was on an eight-week holiday to Magaluf which ended in chaos after two separate accidents – one when she fell off a stage while dancing and broke her arm and the other when she broke her kneecap.

And her next, on a three bedroom home in a quiet family-dominated estate on the outskirts of the city, was almost as disastrous. “I didn’t want everyone thinking ‘you’re a millionaire staying at your mum’s, sharing a room with your sister,” explains Jane.

However, she quickly struggled to stay on top of bills and cleaning, and eventually moved back with her mother, Linda in Niddrie.

She adds: “Niddrie’s not exactly Beverly Hills. People not from Niddrie would be ‘Ugh’, but I think it’s good, my family are there and everyone knows each other. It’s fine.”

Jane, who spent time in foster care as a child after her mum battled addiction admits her vast collection of clothes and shoes has outgrown the available space at the family home in Niddrie.

And while her million pound win has had its share of ups and downs, she wouldn’t change it.

“I have bought a house, mortgage-free at 17, I gave lots away to family and friends and I have splashed a bit, but I’ve still got loads.

“Money can’t buy love or true friends. It can’t buy you family,” she adds. “What it does bring is a certain amount of happiness. You can do things you would never have done before. But it’s better if you have someone to do it with.”

• Teenage Millionaire: The Year I Won the Lottery is on BBC One Scotland on Wednesday at 10.35pm.

Curse of the winners

Jane Park became one of the UK’s youngest ever lottery winners when she scooped £1 million on Euromillions last year at the age of 17.

While she has splashed a portion of her cash, she insists she still has plenty left – unlike some young lottery winners.

Callie Rogers, from Cumbria, was 16 when she won £2m on the National Lottery ten years ago. Last year, she admitted that she only has £2000 left after a massive spending spree.

Stuart Donnelly, from Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway, who scooped £1.9m in 1997, aged 17, was found dead at his secluded cottage home in 2010. The former trainee pharmacist was said to have drank himself to death.

And former bin man Michael Carroll, below, 19 when he won £9.7m in 2002, is now said to be nearly broke. He ploughed money into a Rangers financial services scheme and now works at Elgin’s Walkers shortbread factory.