On this Day in Yorkshire: 30th September 1961: Viv Nicholson wins the pools and vows to “Spend Spend Spend”

This is a day which Castleford woman, Viv Nicholson will never forget. On 30th September 1961, her and then husband, Keith scooped £152,319 from winning the football pools. In today’s money this would amount to £5m. When asked what she would do with her fortune, she famously replied, “I’m gonna spend, spend, spend.” Famously, with her new found wealth, Viv Nicholson’s life began to spiral out of control.

After blowing her fortune on lavish clothes, cars, holidays abroad and alcohol, their lives took a tragic turn when Keith was killed in a car crash in 1965. A court wrangle ensued, as Nicholson fought to gain what was left of their fortune, which was in his estate. She remarried in the 70s, but like Keith was killed in another car accident. During her wealthy years and afterwards, when she had spent all the money, her life descended into alcoholism and bankruptcy. In the late 70s, after a short, abusive marriage, she quit drinking and became a Jehovas Witness. A book and film musical was made about her life in 1998 and she launched a short-lived fashion boutique. In older age Nicholson earned just a widow’s pension, but from time to time would appear on local television. By the time she had passed away in April 2015 she had gone through a £5m fortune (in today’s money) had five husbands, four children and plenty of champagne.

Cover picture credit: http://www.whoateallthepies.tv/fa_cup/230031/on-this-day-in-1963-big-freeze-kicks-off-the-longest-fa-cup-third-round-in-history.html