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Tennessee Lottery’s biggest ever winner to donate prize to charity

7/7/2014
The majority of a $259.8m (£151.4m) prize – the largest ever to be won in Tennessee Lottery history – will be donated to charity by its winner who took a vow of poverty several years ago.

Roy Cockrum, 58, from Knoxville, Tennesse appeared at the Lottery headquarters last week to claim his prize, but has said he has no intention of keeping it all to himself.

Instead Cockrum, who spent 20 years working as an actor and stage manager on TV and in theatres, said most of the hefty sum will be used to launch a foundation support performing arts groups across the US.

Since leaving the industry himself Cockrum became a member of The Society of Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal religious community in Massachusetts, where he took a lifelong vow of poverty, celibacy and obediance.

Cockrum said he believes the perspective gained from living under a vow of poverty for a number of years was the best way to prepare for this “tsunami of cash”.

He said: “It’s going to be my job to work very hard to make sure that every single penny of this prize is a blessing to whoever it touches.”

Cockrum brought the ticket at a Kroger store in Knoxville on 11 June. He said when he realised he had won the Powerball Lottery jackpot he was “literally” knocked to his knees.

After saying a little prayer, he put the ticket away and went to pick up his mother.

He has chosen to take the cash in one lump sum rather than a series of payments which will see him receieve arpimd $115m (£67m).

Emma Rumney
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