84-year-old wins biggest ever lottery jackpot

Gloria Mackenzie

Gloria Mackenzie of Zephyrhills in Florida has scooped an incredible $590 million on the lottery - and opted to take it as a single lump-sum of £370 million. The Florida Powerball jackpot makes her the largest sole lottery winner of all time in the US.

However, she's not the oldest ever multi-million winner - and there's a strong argument that this is the right time in life to win.


Winning ticket

Mackenzie bought a 'quick pick' ticket, which is like the UK's Lucky Dip option, where the computer picks the numbers at random for you. She said she feels 'blessed' that another customer let her go ahead of her in the queue at the grocery shop, which led to her getting those particular numbers. To win the prize she beat odds of one in 175 million.

State law means she cannot remain anonymous, but she chose not to appear at a press conference, and is under no obligation to ever appear in public again.

According to The Guardian, the media is camped outside her small tin-roofed home in a little town outside Tampa. One neighbour said Mackenzie is a quiet person who keeps herself to herself, so the media may have a long wait ahead of them. Another neighbour told USA Today he was shocked she had returned to the neighbourhood rather than finding somewhere nicer to spend her time.

Oldest winners

84 is quite an age to be picking up a massive cheque, but Mackenzie is not the oldest lottery winner.

In the UK we can never be sure about the ages of those who don't choose to go public. However, the oldest announced lottery winner was Reginald Smith, an 85-year-old from Uttoxeter in Staffordshire, who won £2.3 million in 2003. He apparently told the BBC at the time: "I would have liked it to have happened about 20 or 30 years ago, but there you are."

Around the world, the oldest ever winner was Nguyen Van Het, from Vietnam, who won 7.6 billion Vietnamese Dong (about £235,000) in 2010. He was an incredible 97 years old at the time of the win, and said he wanted to upgrade his shack, buy a TV and eat some meat. He also bought a sack of rice for everyone living on the same alley.

Best age to win

There's an argument that it's better to win the lottery when you have enough experience to put the win into perspective. Britain's youngest lottery winners have not exactly had an easy time.

Britain's youngest lottery winner, Callie Rogers, took £1.9 million at the age of 16, and spent a large part of the money on enhancing her appearance and partying. Meanwhile, tragically Scotland's youngest lottery winner, who was 17 when he won £1.9 million in 1997, struggled to cope with the attention and hardly left his home in the years after the win. He was found dead at the age of 29, and left £1.1 million to his family.

But what do you think? Would you fancy winning the lottery in your eighties or nineties, or by then is it too late to enjoy the cash? Let us know in the comments.

The richest self-made Brits
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84-year-old wins biggest ever lottery jackpot

The Monaco-based billionaire is said to be worth more than £4.2bn, with Topshop and Topman among the country's most successful brands. His first job, aged 12, was working for a shoe importer. He set up his first business at 15 with a £20,000 loan, on-selling imported jeans from the Far East to London-based retailers.

Branson's first successful business venture came in 1976 when he set up Student magazine aged just 16. In 1970, he founded a mail-order record retailer and within a year had opened his first shop on London's Oxford Street – Virgin Records. His fortune is estimated at £3.085 billion, according to the Sunday Times rich list.

The inventor gave his name to the household vacuum cleaner that would make him a fortune of £1.45 billion. James Dyson first reinvented the vacuum cleaner with the launch of his dual cyclone bagless 'G-Force' cleaner in 1983, followed more recently by the hand dryer and the fan. In 1997, Dyson was awarded the Prince Phillip Designers Prize, and elected a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineering in 2005.

Founder of Specsavers, Bristol-born Dame Mary Perkins is Britain's first female self-made billionaire, reportedly worth £1.15 billion. The 67-year-old and her husband Douglas, 68, founded the eye-care company in 1984 and they can now boast more than 900 stores across Britain. Perkins was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007 as recognition for her work.

Recently retired Beckham is the highest earner in British sport, according to the Sunday Times Sport Rich List. 'Brand Beckham' that has seen the 38-year-old amass a fortune of £165 million from endorsement deals and salary payments from his company, Footwork Productions, over the last decade. But Beckham is still some way off the richest sportsman in the world - golfer Tiger Woods, who is worth a staggering £570m.

Yorkshire Tory peer Lord Kirkham entered the billionaire league in 2010 when he sold his furniture company, DFS, for a reported £500m. In 41 years, Kirkham grew the brand, which started on the outskirts of Doncaster, to 79 stores, three factories and more than 2,600 staff. He received a Knighthood in 1995, a Peerage in 1999 and a CVO in 2005. He now owns a large share in Iceland supermarkets and is worth a reported £1.1billion.

The former Beatle takes the top spot in the Sunday Times Rich List of musical millionaires, sharing a £680 million fortune with his wife Nancy Shevell. McCartney has topped the list of wealthy musicians every year since it was formed 1989 when his fortune was estimated at £80 million.

The chairman of Carphone Warehouse and Talk Talk, Essex-born Dunstone, 46, started his retail empire selling mobile phones from his west London flat in 1989. His fortune rose by £396 million to £1 billion in a year, after the demerger of Carphone Warehouse and Talk Talk. Carphone Warehouse is Europe's largest independent mobile phone retailer and Dunstone was awarded a Knighthood in 2012 for services to the mobile communications industry.

Author of the hugely successful Harry Potter series, Joanne Kathleen Rowling, has a net worth of £560 million – making her the world's richest author. Rowling wrote the first Potter books on a manual typewriter while a single mother living on benefits. The manuscript for the first Harry Potter novel was rejected by 12 publishers and when finally accepted, Rowling received an advance of just £1,500. Harry Potter is the highest-grossing film series of all-time and the brand has been estimated to be worth as much as £10 billion.

East-ender Lord Sugar, best known for his no-nonsense judging on BBC1s The Apprentice, started his career at 16, selling car aerials and electrical goods out of a van he had bought with savings of £50. In 1968 at the age of 21, Sugar started home electronics company, Amstrad (short for Alan Michael Sugar Trading). By the age of 40 he was worth about £600m. Sir Alan sold Amstrad in 2007, and is now worth a reported £770m, with much of his wealth coming from his extensive property empire.

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