With the royal wedding taking place this Saturday, a lottery winner by the name of Susan Crossland, who won £1.2million Lotto jackpot in 2008 is definitely getting into the spirit.
The mother-of-four said, “I love royal weddings and I love the royals. I just thought it might be a bit quirky to have something nice for Archie so I had him a Windsor Castle made and he absolutely loves it."
She had a £5,000 replica of Windsor Castle installed in her garden so her beloved pooch could also enjoy the royal wedding.
The replica castle/kennel is 6ft-high, hand-painted and features a red carpet, throne and hot tub!
The lucky pooch is a 10-year-old Lhasa Apso who according to his beloved owner will wear a tuxedo and Union Jack top hat for Prince Harry's marriage to Meghan Markle on May 19.
On the day of the wedding, Susan said that she is planning to host a barbecue and said that Archie will "just be pottering about in his Windsor Castle".
"Archie is obviously a big part of the family so we couldn't have him missing out. We love to spoil him."
At the time of the lottery win, Susan said that she used a substantial amount of the prize money to care for her brother and two sisters, who have learning difficulties and who would have had to live apart after their parents' deaths. Instead, they moved in to Susan's purpose-built home.
Generous Susan also plans to donate the castle for public use after the royal wedding is over.
"Although I had it done for Archie - and he does love it - I would like after the wedding to take it off him, if he'll let me, to donate it to a place where lots of other people can enjoy it - either for dogs or maybe it can go for a place when children can play in it."
Prior to Susan and her husband Michael’s lottery win the couple survived on earnings from Michael’s dairy farm job. After winning the lottery he missed the routine of work and went back to his old role soon after.
It wasn’t just the routine of everyday life that the couple enjoyed, it was also their surroundings.
“We had thought about moving away, maybe up to Scotland, but I would have missed Yorkshire too much and also all our friends and support network is here.”
Family is also extremely important that due to the fact that her brothers and sisters all have complex physical and mental needs, the lottery winning couple were now in the perfect position to take care of brother David, 46, and sisters Beverley, 50, and Joanne, 45, and moved them all in to stay with them.
As well as having to consult Michael, two of her sons, Jamie 22 and Joshua, 18, still live at home. “We had a big family conference and they all agreed and it does work really well. It’s good fun. We do have tough days, but who doesn’t.” Despite being able to afford help to care for her siblings, Susan looks after them all herself.
“I don’t like the idea of some stranger in my house; for me it just wouldn’t work,” she says. “It’s my family.” Husband Michael did give up work after the win, but quite quickly missed it. “It drove him nuts,” says Susan.
“He said one day: ‘I love you to death but I have got to go back to work. So now he has gone back part-time at Hague’s Farmshop and he is happy.”
Unlike some lottery winners who squander the prize money, their sensible investments got the Crossland’s lottery win to be worth more than it was four years ago. But Susan is quick to point out that they do enjoy the money as well.
“We go on some lovely holidays. I have taken everyone to Disneyland. Michael and I do get away on our own for a break, we are going to the Caribbean in February, and also I like to take the children away as a family – so everyone gets a bit.”
The lotto loving and family orientated couple, Michael and Susan also got to renew their wedding vows in style, as opposed to when they first got married on a shoestring and she wanted to “do it right.”
They still honeymooned in Blackpool as they had in 1994 when they first married.
“The money also means that I don’t have to worry about having the heating on – my sister really feels the cold. But the main thing is that we are all under one roof; the way it should be.”
Susan admits that she does sometimes feel like she is stuck in the middle – being a wife, mother, sister and full-time carer. Christmas was a real family affair with almost a dozen family members congregating at the Crosslands.
“I do all the cooking,” says Susan. “But it is a really lovely day. My brother and sisters are really quite child-like and so Christmas is a really special time for us all.”
As if caring for her three siblings and her own children isn’t enough, both Susan and Michael are keen charity workers. When Joanne goes into respite care to give the family a break, rather than putting their feet up and relaxing their thoughts turn to others. In the past Susan has dressed up in a big bear costume collecting money for good causes, including Holly Bank Special School, organised a charity football team and sponsored three guide dogs for the blind. On Christmas Eve this year they organised a big party for 44 local children with Michael dressed as Santa.
“We try to do a different thing every year. I believe in giving something back – I always have.”
Susan doesn’t see anything remarkable in what she does, in fact she pays tribute to Michael and her sons.
“They are my inspiration,” she says.
“They have far more patience than I do. They are so good with my brother and sisters. If they have any problems then they go and talk to them. I’m their sister but they go and talk to Michael.
“The money is nice, it gives us security and means I don’t have to worry. It always means if we want to go off to Blackpool for the day or go on holiday we can.
“But the main thing is that it allows our family to be together.”
‘My late father was looking after us’ Susan Crossland said she had a feeling her father was looking out for her on the week of the draw as she kept seeing white feathers in the air. The day after he died in July 2006, a white feather landed on her doorstep, which she took to be a sign from him. Two years later she won the £1.2m jackpot after deciding to keep her late father Barrie’s Lottery numbers.
She said: “My win must be fate, which is why I saw the feathers. I’m not a spiritual person but it just feels right. Like we were supposed to get the money so that we could look after our family.”
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