He is the man everyone wants to meet. He possesses the beaming friendly smile everyone wants to see. He is the man who is literally making dreams come true for people every single day of the week.
Meet Camelot’s Andy Carter, senior winners’ advisor at the National Lottery, and the man who has, what many would say, is the best job in the world. And Andy, 47, agrees.
It is his responsibility to pay out National Lottery winners who scoop some of the biggest ever jackpots. And with a £110m EuroMillions Super Jackpot up for grabs in the draw on Friday night Andy reveals exactly what ‘the best job in the world’ entails.
Over the past 14 years, Andy has handed out more than £2bn to winners – including millions of pounds to lucky Lancashire winners including Natalie and Andrew Cunliffe, from Blackpool, Didzis Pirags, from Preston, and Debbie Mather, from Chorley, and Kevin Halstead, of Chorley.
And during this time he has seen every emotion and reaction you’d care to imagine from tears of joy to tears of laughter and from people swearing to people even being physically sick.
Last year alone, Andy paid out more than £300m to lucky National Lottery winners.
To put this into context, £75bn in prize money has been paid out since the National Lottery launched in 1994 and more than 5,700 millionaires have been made, many of whom in that time have had the pleasure of meeting Andy.
Andy says, “People always dream of winning on the National Lottery but just think it will never happen to them. It is something which they believe always happens to someone else. But with millions of winners every week the chances of winning are very real – and as they say you have to be in it to win it.
“I’ve seen a whole range of emotions including big, strong ex-military tough guys reduced to tears of shock because they can’t get their head around their win. We’re giving people large amounts of money and it can literally turn their world upside down.”
Even despite recent turbulent times amid the coronavirus pandemic, Andy has still been finding ways to pay out winners, with a prize pot of more than £250m having been paid out to those winners. And Lancashire, it seems, is particularly lottery lucky.
At the end of last year it was revealed that in Preston 46 millionaires have been created since the National Lottery began .In total, 295 top tier prizes of at least £50,000 have been banked by winners in the PR postcode – that’s almost one winner every single month.
Meanwhile in Blackpool (FY) postcode, the National Lottery has made 26 millionaires since the lottery began and in the past three years, seven millionaires have been made. But Andy’s role is far more than just paying out the big cheque – he is still in contact with winners he paid out at the start of his career.
He says: “Many of the winners become your friends, or as we say at Camelot, a part of the Camelot/National Lottery family. The job is a lot more than just simply paying out the big cheque and, since I started this job in 2006, there’s so much more awareness of the emotional journey winners go on.”
Psychologists have identified a Change Curve which charts the stages most people go through after major events, winning the lottery being one such major event. Andy says, “Some winners’ Change Curve will be very steep, others less so, but we’ve a whole wealth of support to help.
“We provide a financial advisor and a lawyer to talk about the dos and don’ts and the need to make a financial plan, as well as looking at gifts and wills – and all of this support applies irrespective of whether the winner chooses to go public. We have also added a qualified life coach with experience of helping people going through change.”
As if receiving that big boost to your bank balance isn’t enough, Andy and his team also provide a lottery luxury concierge service.
“One piece of advice we give to new winners is to treat themselves to something which makes the win seem real,” says Andy. “This could be flying first class or booking a really nice hotel for themselves, when the world returns to some kind of normality. To help to organise this we have a new luxury concierge service. If you want to move house - the luxury concierge service will organise it.”
In addition to this, a team of security experts are also on hand for all winners, providing them with tips and advice about social media settings being made private, cyber security and even physical security around their property. And with the introduction of new technology, there are also new digital ways to reach winners too.
From the very first confirmation of a win, before Andy even arrives on the doorstep or, during lockdown, before he set up a video meeting, a video of Andy or a member of his team, dependent upon who is visiting, will be sent to the winner, introducing their winners’ advisor.
Andy says, “Winning the lottery isn’t a linear process. A winner said to me the other day that they felt their first few months had passed them by. Now, six months on, they’ve accepted the changes and they’re loving it at last. I’ve greeted more than 2,000 winners now and to see a father walk into a room and tell his son they’ve won the National Lottery is a privilege.
“But my favourite moment is when a winner feels happy enough for their winner’s advisor to step back. It’s like a child leaving home. That really brings a lump to my throat.”
As for Andy’s most memorable moment, he says “Too many to mention. With the big winners you are part of a national event but every winner has their story irrespective of the size of their win. I have been privileged to be present when people have told a close family member news of their win, you would never ever get invited into a private family moment in any other job.
“Sometimes we are dealing with large families or groups of people, they can take some managing as they all have different questions and ideas. A lottery win is the silver lining to most clouds. People can’t time when lottery luck touches them. I have dealt with a winner whose close family member died between finding out they’d won and being paid. A real case of mixed emotions.”