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Trevor: our $26 million man

Trevor says there’s one thing better than winning Lotto.

For a man who was once plagued by bad luck, winning $26 million in Lotto Powerball has been one of the most dramatic turns of fortune anyone could imagine. Trevor was a typical battler, working as a checkout operator as part of his manager training at Countdown in Huntly. At the time he won, he couldn’t even afford to buy petrol. Now the driveway at his parents’ home in Auckland looks like a Lotto ad, with two new cars and a boat parked in the driveway.

It’s been just over a month since his lucky numbers turned up in the Lotto draw, and in an exclusive interview with New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, Trevor’s parents, Kevin and Shirley, have told how their son was down on his luck before it finally turned at the age of 34. He’d had more than his fair share of financial woes in his time, and had never won anything before.

“If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck,” says Trevor. “I was just a worker.” Now, he doesn’t have to return to his job as assistant manager of Countdown – in fact, he could afford to buy nine stores with his $26 million. But they weren’t on the wish list he kept in case he ever won.

So far he’s ticked off seven items, including a few luxuries he’s always wanted, and three family properties – so he, his parents and his sister can all live within close range of each other, just out of Auckland.

Dream come true: being able to race speedway sprint cars in the US

“It’s wonderful I can have my kids around me,” smiles Shirley. “It means we can all have Christmas together,” adds Trevor, who will also be moving in his best friend, Mac, an American pit bull terrier. Surprisingly, the 34-year-old, who considers himself a westie through and through, has only bought two new items – a black Holden ute and a trailer boat.

There is also an eight-year-old Dodge Ram pick-up truck, a vehicle he’s always admired. The boat is a $160,000 Searay Sundancer which sleeps five people and fits snugly on the back of his Dodge. Best of all, Trevor’s win will help him achieve his dream of racing sprint cars at the speedway and of travelling to America to race.

“I can do it on a competitive budget, rather than struggling. I can afford the best that money can buy.” Trevor has told mum Shirley that she will never have to work again. She took voluntary redundancy from her job in November, but would still like to work a few days a week.

His dad, Kevin, is a marine project manager and doesn’t want to give up his work. Not being able to return to his supermarket job has been surprisingly hard on Trevor. Despite saying on TV that he would be at his job at Countdown two days after his win, Trevor didn’t even get to his 5am shift.

He had a call from staff who tipped him off about media waiting outside, and he hasn’t been back to work since. “I’ve been in to visit and I am missing my job – everyone in the store, we’re all family. If someone’s having a hard week we’ll give each other help.”

Although most people would happily exchange places with Trevor, he becomes serious when asked about the downside of the win. There have been some unwanted requests for money including from some people he met once at a barbecue.

American pit bull Mac is Trevor’s best friend

“We have had our fair share of people putting their hand out – people we know and people we don’t know. At this stage, I’ve helped some people who have helped me,” says Trevor, who has decided to distribute donations via a charitable trust, to which anyone can apply for funding.

“It will all be done fairly. I’ve had to develop a business sense. And being in the limelight means I have to watch my personality,” he adds. “He’s grown up a lot in the last four weeks,” Shirley says. In addition to interest from the media, strangers have asked for his autograph and within five minutes of being named the Powerball winner, there were 22,000 requests to be his Facebook friend.

On the upside, Trevor, who’s been described as New Zealand’s most eligible bachelor, has been getting plenty of female attention – something that he admits he enjoys. “Every guy does. It’s like being Hugh Hefner for a week,” says Trevor. But gold diggers might have a hard time catching him.

“They’ve got to get past me and his sister first,” laughs Shirley. Although he’s single, Trevor has kept friendly with his former girlfriends and says he does have someone special in his life. “I’m not looking for anyone. There is someone special who is a friend at the moment.”

Trevor is proud of his westie heritage. He went to Rutherford High School in Te Atatu and worked as a plasterer and truck driver before an injury saw him move into supermarket work. Ironically, he was due to have training in selling Lotto tickets the week after his win. If he had won then, there would have been an inquiry.

It was Sunday morning after the Lotto draw that Trevor first realised he could be a winner. His flatmate told him the winner’s ticket was bought in Te Kauwhata – and Trevor had been buying a Lucky Dip every week at the local Four Square. After checking his tickets online, Trevor told his flatmate he was now a millionaire, and then rang home to tell his mother, who didn’t believe him at first.

Trevor with parents Kevin and Shirley

“I told him to take a photo and send it to me. There was just total disbelief until I saw the ticket.” Kevin and Shirley travelled with Trevor to Wellington to collect his winnings, and the total of $26,593,470 appeared in his account just in the nick of time.

Shirley’s car had broken down on the drive home from Huntly to Auckland, and she and Kevin rang Trevor to come and rescue them. But he had no petrol in his car and no money to buy any – so he waited at the petrol station until midnight, when he became a multi-millionaire.

“The car broke down almost to the minute when the money went in,” says Kevin. But Trevor still doesn’t count his Lotto win as the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

“It wasn’t the most exciting feeling of my life. It wasn’t as exciting as racing in the speedway,” he says. “I was more excited when I jumped out of the race car than when I won Lotto.

“The money doesn’t buy happiness and it doesn’t buy love either – it helps but it doesn’t buy it. I still go home. I still go to bed and I still get up in the morning and I’m still on my own.” It would be pretty hard to fritter away the money – the interest itself earns him $22,000 a week, but Trevor says that there is one way he knows it could be done.

“I could blow it all tomorrow if I wanted to. I could go to the casino and bet the lot.”

“Just as well he’s not into gambling,” says Kevin.

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