WHAT would you do if you won £115 million on the Lottery?

Most of us would surely be planning how to dramatically improve our lives with a bigger house, posh car, exotic holidays and a luxurious life without work.

We would probably like to ensure our immediate loved ones were also looked after by sharing some of our good fortune. We might also give a hefty donation to our favourite charities or even fund some medical equipment.

I don’t think too many of us would have celebrated quietly with a hug and a cuppa – and then straightaway set about planning how to make 50 of our friends and relatives also very rich.

Yet, this is exactly what Frances and Patrick Connolly from Northern Ireland did when they scooped £115 million on the New Year’s Day EuroMillions Lottery last week.

The couple plan to buy a bungalow because Frances struggles to walk upstairs, but will splash out on a new Jaguar X-Type and a holiday in Mauritius. They describe themselves as “level-headed” and “not overly extravagant” and that seems to be an understatement.

What has really captured everyone’s imagination is their instant generosity to so many other people. They have even said they will add to that list of lucky recipients because “The joy for us will be when we tell them all face-to-face.”

I don’t know about you but I doubt I would be anywhere near so immediately philanthropic under these circumstances. The first reaction would be all about improving your own life, with selected others coming later.

The Connollys’ reaction is particularly heart-warming because Lottery winners don’t always get the best press. When they first win, some skeletons may come out of the closet to darken their perfect day. And when they’ve had the money a while, such huge amounts can cause family rifts or even fatally damage relationships.

Nor do all Lottery winners swiftly gain the approbation of the general public. It’s human nature that, along with the congratulations and good wishes, there is feeling deep down of envy and even unfairness. “Why them?” may be the question lingering in the mind if not on the lips. “Why couldn’t we win instead?”

When Yorkshire woman Viv Nicholson’s husband Keith won a massive (for the time) pools’ win in 1961, she told the media she would “spend, spend, spend”. This kickstarted a very public and lavish spending spree that saw the money disappear in 10 years. Her husband died in a car crash and she later became bankrupt.

As one of the first conspicuous UK cash winners, her life became a cautionary tale for profligate spending.

Fortunately, she was followed by many others with more positive experiences, including Bolton National Lottery winner Brian Caswell. Brian described himself as a “happy man” before his £25 million win which, for him, was “the icing on the cake.”

While we’d all like a big Lottery win, generally, they should come with the sensible advice: think very carefully about what you do next.