Strabane lottery winner Margaret Loughrey ‘gave most of her £27 million away’
An unemployed Strabane woman who won over £27m on the Euro millions lottery “put her money where her mouth was” and gave most of it away, a neighbour has said.
Margaret Loughrey, 56, scooped the multi-million prize back in 2013. Sadly her body was discovered at her home in Strabane on Thursday. The PSNI is not treating her death as suspicious although a post-mortem is taking place.
Independent Councillor Paul Gallagher who lived close to her had known her from before her windfall
She made major headlines after her win after running into trouble. Last year she lost a legal challenge after being found to have discriminated against former general assistant Patrick Breslin, and had to pay him £30,000.
And in 2015, she was ordered by a judge to complete 150 hours of community service after she was convicted of assaulting a taxi driver in what a court heard was an alcohol-fuelled incident at her home.
However Mr Gallagher said she should really be remembered for all the good work she insisted on doing in secret.
“She was a quiet and private person but she did a lot of things behind the scenes for the community and voluntary sector, for charity groups and most of that went unrecognised,” he told the News Letter. “That is probably unknown outside the local area.
“She was not one to stand out front for a photograph or presentation cheque. She was not interested in any of that.”
Margaret gave great support to children from the Strabane area with training trips for the Special Olympics, he said. Strabane and District Special Olympics paid tribute to her on their Facebook page with one supporter describing her as “an absolute angel”.
The big winner also bailed out a community group in the town that ran into financial difficulties and was about to lose their premises, he added. “Today they are still providing a range of activities for young people and pensioners,” he added.
She also made large donations to a number of regional cancer charities, he said.
After promising to give away most of her money to help others, she said in one of her last interviews that she was down to only £5m.
She did not live an ostentatious lifestyle, he said, but spent most of her money helping others, and renovating a new property close to him that she intended to move into when it was finished.
She gave away most of her money to help others, giving family and friends £1m each, he said.
She did say she deeply regretted winning the money in recent times.
“But she probably said that in one of her low moments.”
Margaret invested into a local property portfolio and a number of business ventures fell through.
“But what should be remembered is that she put her money where her mouth was,” he added. “She gave it away.”
Claire Devine, Assistant Manager with the New Horizons Partnership Ltd in Strabane said she was “a kind and giving lady” and they would be “forever in Margaret’s debt” - she had given them a vehicle and cash to support trainees with learning disabilities.
In the wake of her death SDLP assembly member Mark H Durkan called on lottery organisers to ensure they provide long-term welfare care to vulnerable winners.
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