Meet The Scottish Island that won the Lottery...!

Saturday: The Scottish Island That Won the Lottery; (Channel 4, 8pm)

Friday, 4th June 2021, 5:00 pm
Su who won over £21,000
Su who won over £21,000

Welcome to the island of North Uist.

Part of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, it is at the rugged north-western edge of Britain.

Almost as close to Iceland as London, North Uist’s 1,500 islanders are famed for their self-sufficiency and resourcefulness. It’s a community that despite not being cash-rich, is wealthy in traditions and language stretching back centuries.

And it’s fair to say, not much changes on this idyllic Western Isle from day to day, apart from the odd fisherman, walker, bird watcher, motor-home enthusiast and cyclist arriving for a short stay.

However, in January 2020, the residents of Berneray and North Uist were astounded to learn they would be sharing an enormous £3million jackpot after winning the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Pamela Macaskill and Sharon Mackillop – two neighbours on Berneray, an island with only 140 residents – scooped £193,055 each when their postcode, HS6 5BJ, was announced as the winner.

Meanwhile, 99 other locals received cheques ranging from £21,425 to £64,275.

At the time, Pamela, who works at Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre, said: “I’m just numb, my mouth is dry. I’m completely speechless.

“You just don’t believe it will ever happen. I mean that’s massive isn’t it. My palms have not stopped sweating. The whole place has been buzzing. It’s such a big amount for such a small community. I know pretty much everyone here. It means so much to all of us. Angus didn’t believe me. He wasn’t taking anything in. He’ll get a new quad bike if he’s lucky. I love Disney so I might take my girls to Florida, but I guess I should go somewhere a bit different with this amount. Maybe Finland, or somewhere hot.”

Meanwhile, retired teacher Sharon, 59, made plans to take her husband John out for dinner. She added: “The car probably needs replaced, the outside of the house needs painted, a new mobile for my husband. Maybe a holiday, I’ve never been on a cruise.”

North Uist councillor Roddy Mackay told the Daily Record how much the win meant to the local economy. “This is huge for the area,” he said.

“I expect to see new cars, extensions, people paying off their mortgages. There are plenty of jobs up here, but not a lot of money. It will give people a wee bit of financial security.

“This has brought the island together, everyone is talking online and congratulating each other. There is no jealousy. This is a very giving community. We might have our differences but in a community like this, everybody looks after everybody else.”

This hour-long documentary follows the winners, including fisherman Donald, crofter Attar, postal worker Pamela, peat cutter Duncan, and whisky distillery entrepreneurs Kate and Jonny, as they deal with their bonanza.

How have they come to terms with their windfall and how have their lives changed, if at all?

Finally, the programme asks: in a rural idyll like North Uist, where you already have everything you need, what happens when you come into some money, but don’t know how to spend the cash?

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