altForty year old Soraya Lowell hit the headlines in March 2008 as the world’s biggest bingo jackpot winner. Scooping nearly £1.2 million, she was on top of the world but in less than four years, she has found herself up in court threatened with bankruptcy. Lowell has been struggling with debts recently and has been taken to court by her local council for unpaid council tax. South Lanarkshire Council have launched a bid to see Lowell and her husband declared bankrupt for their joint council tax debt of £13,214. Lowell herself is said to owe £6,526 and her husband, £6,888 with the addition of £381 legal fees for each amount.

The council took the Lowells to court on 18th January and demanded the bankruptcy order. This came just days after another blow, where a local sheriff gave the Bank of Scotland the rights to seize Lowell’s £150,000 home. The sheriff presiding over the bankruptcy delayed it for a further month after evidence claimed that the couple were working towards managing their debt problems and finding a solution. The Bankruptcy Hearing was held at Hamilton Sheriff Court and they heard the couple had been meeting with local debt advisors and had applied to join a debt management scheme, both points which worked in their favour.

It was only a few years back that Lowell was celebrating her huge jackpot win. She won £1,167,795 on a national bingo game at the Club 3000 bingo hall in Coatbridge. What also hit the headlines was Lowell’s long standing agreement with her friend and neighbour, Agnes O’Neill, to split any bingo wins they had equally and the fact that Lowell stuck to this agreement. Unfortunately, Agnes passed on within two months of cashing her share of the win and her widower expressed his sympathy towards the Lowells current circumstances.

A big bingo win is a huge bonus for any family and can really change your life but as this case shows, there is a need to exercise caution and spend your money wisely. The Lowells have recently vacated the new home they bought in Hamilton, within a year of the win, as they were unable to pay the mortgage and have returned to their old council home. This story can really serve as a warning to anybody who is lucky enough to have a big win and how it is important to keep a tight hold on your purse strings.