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Why on Earth Would You Tell Anyone You'd Won the Lottery?

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Watching Colin and Christine Weir on TV accepting their cheque for £161 million from the Euromillions officials brought a mix of feelings - happiness (for two people plucked from the normal battle to pay the bills), resentment (that I hadn't been plucked from the normal battle to pay the bills) and anticipation (at the chance that they might use the money to buy Scotland outright).

Here were two ordinary people who had just become filthy, filthy rich.

Not the shiny, skinny, white-teethed people whom fate normally rewards with more money than the whole of Ireland, but jolly, pastey, overweight, ordinary Brits. The Weirs were striking a blow for all of us - pulling Cheryl Cole's hair extensions, slapping Wayne Rooney's jowls and shoving a deep fried Mars Bar into Liz Hurley's salad simultaneously in a glorious act of defiance.

But just a few days later, the outlook is very different.

The first disappointment came when they announced that they did not want the money to "change them" - which Lottery winners always say, and which always begs the question "why the hell not?"

For the hordes of us who had Euromillions tickets that turned out to be worth precisely sod all, the point of buying them was so that the money could change us. It's what the Lottery is for: if I wanted to stay the same, I'd spend my £2 on some pork-scratchings or a gel pen, not on the chance to win £161 million.

Please don't tell me you're going to save all of the cash and carry on living exactly as before - that only makes it worse that you won and I didn't. Buy a mother-of-pearl Rolls Royce and crash into a health food shop, build a modest mountain lair in the shape of your own head, order 1000 Amstrad emailers and use them to email Alan Sugar with the word "obsolete" every 20 minutes, do anything you like but for God's sake please let the money change you.

If not, why not give it to me? That'll save you from changing.

And therein lies the second problem. Almost as soon as the news broke, the begging letters started to flood in; hundreds of them. The mind boggles at what they were all demanding money for, but demand it they did. Britain has made cadging undeserved cash into a national sport, and Mr and Mrs Weir had just announced they were going to host the World Championships.

The attention has all got too much and according to the Mail the Weirs have left their home town of Largs and "fled to Spain".

They would have done well to listen to the sage advice of their neighbour, David Simpson. I'm not saying you should always listen to the advice of neighbours in the newspapers - after all, 99% of the time they are quoted saying that "he was always a loner...kept himself to himself" - but on this occasion he's bang on:

It's hard to imagine they'll be able to stay here now everyone knows they've got £161million in the bank. They will be pestered to death. No one would have known if they'd kept it quiet. Why let the cat out of the bag?

Too true, Mr Simpson. This is the ultimate question the Weirs' experience raises - if you win the Lottery, what possible reason is there to go on TV and tell everyone?

Obviously, Camelot would like you to go public and pose for photos on what must be the most champagne-watered patch of grass in the world. It bumps their sales to show that people do actually win sometimes and the Lottery isn't just a tax with the added downside of Dale Winton as a front man.

But what's in it for you? Every shyster, every long-lost and slightly odd distant relation, every Dragon's Den reject and, inevitably, the tax man will beat a path to your door (be it a B&Q door "because the money hasn't changed you" or a gold-plated one with your face engraved on it because you're fun).

And that's if you're lucky; going on TV waving a massive Lottery cheque is as close as anyone ever comes to walking round with a neon sign which reads "PLEASE KIDNAP MY CHILDREN".

The sad thing is that for a couple who had lived a quiet life and didn't want the money to change them, the only way in which the Weirs have changed is by agreeing to go public with their win. As a result they may own more money than God, but now the public and the media own them.