The phone hasn’t stopped ringing at Allen and Violet Large’s home over news the elderly Nova Scotia couple has given away almost $11.2 million in lottery winnings.
Allen Large said they’ve been overwhelmed by calls from across the country since a story about their philanthropy appeared in the Halifax Chronicle Herald on Thursday.
“We’re not used to all this attention,” Large said as he fielded another call at the couple’s modest home in Lower Truro.
“We’re just plain, old country folks.”
The Larges won their fortune in a July 14 Lotto 649 draw and decided to give almost all of it away.
After taking care of their family, the couple donated money to area churches, fire departments, cemeteries, the Red Cross and hospitals where Violet, who has cancer, has undergone treatment.
Large, a 75-year-old retired welder, said they gave away 98 per cent of their winnings and banked the remaining two per cent “for a rainy day.”
“We have no plans. We’re not travellers. We’re not night-prowlers. We’re not bar-hoppers. We’re just ordinary country folk.”
Word of the couple’s astounding generosity has even drawn interest abroad.
A producer with ITV television in London called The Canadian Press on Thursday looking to connect with the Larges, and the story drew a flood of comments from readers on the Daily Mail‘s website in the United Kingdom.
“Wow, what wonderful people!” wrote a poster on the British tabloid’s site. “A real heartwarming story for sure. (I)f only there were more people like this in the world …”
“These sort of people make the world a better place, God bless them!” added another.
At the Shillelagh House, a family restaurant in Lower Truro, owner Lori Hingley said her patrons were abuzz with news about the Larges’ generosity.
“People who know them just know that’s the type of people they are — they’re just happy to have each other,” Hingley said, adding that most people in the area heard about their giving ways back in the summer when they won the Atlantic Lottery’s Lotto 649.
Word spread beyond the small community Thursday when a story was published in the Chronicle-Herald.
“I think people are wondering why they didn’t keep any and treat themselves, but mostly people just think it’s great how generous they were.”
Large said he and Violet decided a week before they picked up their winnings to give most of it away.
He said they worked for 30 years in Ontario and put away money every year before retiring and returning home to Nova Scotia.
“We weren’t millionaires before, but we had enough to keep us going in our retirement years,” he said. “We were quite happy with what we had and the way we were going.”