Farewell, Barbara, Sheffield's lucky lottery winner who gave away £5.5million

A Sheffield lottery winner who gave £5.5million of her £7.6million windfall away has died aged 77.

Monday, 21st May 2018, 5:30 pm
Updated Monday, 21st May 2018, 5:36 pm
Ray and Barbara preparing to meet the Queen in 2008.

Hospital worker Barbara Wragg won the astonishing sum with her husband Ray in January 2000, and was immediately thrust into the public eye.

However, far from the ‘spend, spend, spend’ mantra of other big lottery winners, the Jordanthorpe couple chose a different path - and never regretted it once.

Sheffield United fans Ray and Barbara Wragg celebrate winning the 7,649,520 jackpot from Saturday's National Lottery at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane football ground, Sheffield, Tuesday, 25th January, 2000. Watch for PA story. PA photo: Rui Vieira.

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Speaking to the Star just hours after his wife of 56 years passed away, Ray said as soon as they won, Barbara knew what she wanted to do with the money.

He said: “She said what we have got to do with this is to help a lot of people - and that is what we did.”

“Giving so much of it away never bothered us one bit and we would do it all again.

“We enjoyed every bit of it and we made a lot of people happy.”

Ray and Barbara at a lottery party in 2011 (rossparry.co.uk / Glen Minikin).

Of their £7.6million windfall, the couple used some to secure the futures of their three children - Mark, Shaun and Amanda.

The lion’s share, however, went to good causes - with the beneficiaries of their generosity numbering in the hundreds.

Large amounts went to the Royal Hallamshire where Barbara worked for 22 years as a night shift hospital support worker on the urology ward.

“We actually bought a bladder scanner for the ward Barbara used to work on for £9,000,” said Ray.

Barbara and Ray at a Swing When You're Giving Gala Ball held for the FABLE charity in 2014.

“She always used to struggle to find one when she worked there and said that even a few extra minutes was a long time for someone who was in pain.”

One of the stories that gave the couple most pleasure was the £12,500 they gave to 60 Monte Cassino veterans so they could travel to their reunion in 2003.

“She rang the association up and said we wanted to pay the lot,” said Ray.

“The was on the Saturday morning and one of the veterans was here on Saturday afternoon picking up the cheque.”

When the old soldiers went on their trip, Ray and Barbara stayed overnight at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester to see them off.

At the time of their win, the couple lived in Jordanthorpe but moved to Whirlow to give Barbara her dream of living in a house with bay windows.

However, as a result of Barbara’s claustrophobia, they forgoed the jet-set lifestyle in favour of relaxing cruises around the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

“We hadn’t been out of the country before that - we went to Torquay for 31 years on the trot!” joked Ray.

“I didn’t even get a passport until I was 63.”

But despite the house move and foreign holidays, the money didn’t change them as people one bit.

“We were happy before we won and we were happy afterwards,” said Ray.

“You hear about people who it sends crazy, but we had a marvellous 18 years.”

Barbara sadly died at 4am on Monday morning from complications associated with gallstones.

As well as Ray, she leaves three children - Mark, Shaun and Amanda - and six grandchildren.