...SORRY, wrong meeting!
I'm sick of all the bad news, here's something to make you feel better!
A lottery-winning couple who gave millions to charity could give world leaders a lesson in wealth distribution
by Polly Toynbee
Here is a good story. Barbara and Ray Wragg recently won £7.6m on the lottery, and naturally it changed their lives. Ray was a roofing supervisor, often leaving home at 4am to get to distant building sites. Barbara had worked for years as a nursing assistant at the Royal Hallamshire hospital in Sheffield, on 11-hour night shifts in the urology department, taking home under £150 a week.
Their lives were hard but they were an exceptionally contented couple, with married, grown-up children and a council house they managed to buy for £10,000 in the 1980s. "We felt we were kings of our castle," Barbara says. "We never dreamed of anything more." But if you think this is going to be another of those schadenfreude tales of money bringing misery, think again.
Once they recovered from the shock of the man from Coutts bank arriving on the first day bearing £5,000 in cash for their immediate needs, the Wraggs bought themselves a bigger house nearby and a Range Rover. They gave £1m to their children to pay off their mortgages and have plenty for the rest of their lives. They took several cruises and gave money and presents to friends.
Then, once they felt they had everything they wanted, the Wraggs decided to give away the rest: they have donated £5.5m to charities so far. They have visited projects, supported ventures large and small and they even gave a sizeable sum back to the Hallamshire hospital where she worked so hard for so little all those years. "We have never had so much pleasure in our lives," Barbara says.
A Labour-voting trade union member, who is not religious, she says: "Labour shaped our life and our thinking." She might, I suggest, like a hand in shaping some of the thinking about wealth of the present Labour leadership, and she laughs.
The Wraggs and their children have a rare sense of balance and sufficiency. Knowing how much is enough is what is now being lost among the new greed-is-good generation of high earners, whose pay has shot out of control.