Stephen Schiltz enjoys living it all in Wales and believes moving to Pontardawe in 2019 is one of the best decisions he’s ever made.
It’s not just that seven months after arriving in the South Wales town he won a million in the lottery he thinks he hit the jackpot choosing such a great place to go.
Life certainly turned out very differently for the former truck driver, who moved with his wife Lesley in 2019 in an attempt to settle his debts and get away from the bailiffs calling him.
Read more: All the latest National Lottery stories here.
âLondon is such an expensive place to live and raise children,â says the father of six. âWe just found it so hard to make ends meet and got to the point where our debts were around Â£ 30,000. We just couldn’t make it work so we sold our house and looked for a better place to live.
âMy wife had ties to the area and had spent a lot of her childhood vacation in Tenby so we started looking in South Wales and found our dream home in Pontardawe. We have no regrets. , it’s a wonderful place to live and the people are wonderful. “
What made things even better for the couple was winning the lottery just before Christmas two years ago.
Stephen had actually bought his ticket a few days before realizing he was a winner.
“I was driving the truck and heard on the radio that someone from Wales had matched the numbers, I just thought ‘lucky’ and never thought about it again,” he said. he declares. “And then a few nights later, I went out for a drink and remembered I had a ticket.
âI thought I would check it on the app, so I scanned the ticket and it said I won a million. I told my friends and they just laughed. Then one from them scanned and we started to understand that it might well I called my wife and she thought I was playing a prank on her.
“She told me to go up to the store and check it out. In the store, they scanned it and told me I had to phone Camelot.”
This phone call is now being used as part of a new National Lottery advertisement featuring the spookiest recordings of winners. You can hear Stephen jumping up and down and screaming after verifying that he has become a millionaire overnight.
And her Cockney roots take on their full meaning with comedic references to Del Boy and Rodney references in the call.
âI can’t even describe that feeling, it was so nice,â he says. âI wish everyone could have that kind of feeling in their life. Making that call was the best feeling in the world,â he says. âRealizing that all of your money worries are gone is like nothing else.
âI was screaming and jumping up and down. We’ve always struggled with our finances, but moving to Wales seven months before our victory seems to have brought us luck. We’ve been so happy here.â
Despite the big win, Stephen says he’s still worried when his phone rings with a masked number in case it’s a debt collector, and the couple have been careful about their money.
Since his victory, in addition to his volunteering, Stephen has come out of retirement to start his own transportation company with his business partner Mathew Williams – Schiltz Company Ltd.
He said, âI love the transportation work that Mathew and I do. Our victory gave us this incredible opportunity to work on our own terms.
âLesley also works in training, but can choose how many days a week she wants to work out. We were both keen to keep working out, in one form or another, because we’ve always worked hard and that’s good. for mental health. It’s just great that we can be our own boss. “
The biggest purchases were a Land Rover Discovery and a Mustang, as well as another house in Pontardawe for their daughter.
The lockdown has prevented their dream trip to Australia, but it is back for next year, when they visit Lesley’s relatives there.
Before the lockdown, Steve returned to his favorite place with Lesley in Crete, where they married, to volunteer and build kennels for homeless dogs, alongside Mathew.
Stephen says: âLesley and I have always loved Crete and wanted to do something there. Not having to work for a salary, meant I had this opportunity with Hectors [corr] Charity house.
âWe were so lucky. People have asked us why we haven’t bought a house too, but I tell them that we already have the house of our dreams and it is great to be able to help the family in their future.
âIt was amazing for us, like we were living a second life. I used to think the lottery was just a solution, and no one really won it until we saw it. money in the bank.
“We are so happy to have moved to Wales it has been very lucky for us and we love to live it. It is a better way of life and my next project is to learn Welsh.”
To get the latest email updates from WalesOnline directly to your inbox, click here.