By Chris Johnson And Mark Hookham Daily Post Staff
With a piece of wood tucked under his arm, Britain’s richest carpenter took his work home with him yesterday.
As the National Lottery reaches its tenth anniversary this year, scores of instant millionaires will be thinking how the game has changed their lives. However, life for David Ashcroft, (left), Merseyside’s biggest ever winner, seems not to have altered. In 1997, Mr Ashcroft, now 37, was getting by as a carpenter, living with his parents in a modest terraced house in Mossley Hill. During the last week of May of that year, he won £12.3m, something that would have turned most people’s lifestyles on their heads. At the time of his win, Mr Ashcroft admitted he had never had a girlfriend or even travelled abroad. His only passion, he said, was his love for fine furniture.
Yesterday, exactly seven years since his windfall, Mr Ashcroft was seen returning to the same modest £130,000 home in Pittville Avenue he shares with parents Jean, 64, and Roy, 65. The self-employed carpenter and furniture repairer was carrying a piece of laminate flooring to patch up a fault at home. Neighbours say he still works in the same workshop, which is around the corner, that he used to when he won.
One said: “No one can quite fathom it. He’s got money to burn and yet he seems to spend next to nothing on himself. “Some people say he is afraid of what it would do to him if he started spending it – afraid of what he might become.
“It seems he has made his mind up never to talk about it, so we may never know what’s behind it at all.”. Another added: “He has just always been like his. He is very, very quiet. We were astonished when he went public in the first place after winning the money.
“He takes his mum and dad out in their car and he does his carpentry, but that is about it. He just seems to be somebody that money has not changed at all.”
Last night, financial experts said Mr Ashcroft could have increased his fortune significantly if he has invested wisely.
James Dow, of Warrington-based Dow Schofield Watts, added: “In interest alone, he will be making about 4% a year. From £12.3m, this is just over £500,000 or roughly £10,000 a week. This is what he will earn if he has decided not to take any risk.
“If he has invested in the property market, he could make up to £1.8m in a year per investment. It is difficult to work out how much he could have earned in total.”
While there is no sign that Mr Ashcroft has spent heavily on himself he has, however, given much to his family. This has helped his sister, Janet Convery and her husband Chris move into a £500,000 five-bedroomed detached house in leafy Menlove Avenue, Woolton. Yesterday, behind the gated property, a silver Mercedes SLK and two top of the range 4×4 cars stood in the drive.
Last night, Chris Convery said his brother-in-law was happy with his lifestyle: “He does go on really good holidays. There was a girl in the papers a while ago who won a lot of money and she was made a saint because she looks after her family.
“He has done that from day one. If you knew David, or any of his friends, you would know that he is a really gentle and kind person. He is bothered by the money, but he enjoys himself. People do not see that. He tries his best to keep it private.”