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‘YOU’VE WON A MILLION!’ By Desmond Zwar Lady Luck arrived when 68-year-old Peggy Boakes, Max Bygraves’ greatest fan, asked me if it was possible to contact Max at home in Bournemouth to find out if he was performing this year in Australia. I phoned Max and the answer was ‘Melbourne in February’. So Peggy left husband, Ron, 65, at home in Moonta, South Australia, (pop.2,500), at his small mechanical workshop and flew to Melbourne to stay with her son, getting two of the last seats for Max’s sell-out concert. ‘I have been a fan of Max’s since I saw him in a second-rate movie playing the part of a sailor. I said to my friend: "One day that man is going to be famous." Long before Peggy and Ron left Britain in 1963, Max was indeed a celebrity. And when she went to a final London concert to see him, she believed it was probably for the last time. Now her final pilgrimage would be to fly to Melbourne, despite the expense, and watch him perform at the Melbourne Concert Hall. ‘We could only get two remaining seats three rows from the back, but he was lovely; so handsome in his cream suit, he looked 40, rather than over 70. When he came on he said: "A friend of mine is in the audience today - she’s 95 and she’s brought along her grandmother." I wept with laughter; my son, who is 29 and doesn’t know much about Max, wanted to hide!’ When it was over, Peggy was too shy to make her way back stage to meet the man she had admired for five decades. ‘Oh you can’t do things like that!’ So she returned to beachside Moonta. And Ron said: ‘You were lucky to get those tickets. Now I’m feeling lucky. Let’s get a book of tickets in the lottery.’ ‘So we bought a book of $5 tickets in the Returned Soldiers League War Veterans Art Union.’ She chuckles: ‘This is gospel. I had just sat down at my computer to write to thank you for ringing Max for me in Bournemouth, otherwise I’d have never seen him; and to tell you what a marvellous show it was; I wept through a lot of the songs and had to turn my back on my son otherwise he would have been embarrassed. ‘Then the phone rang. It was Ron from his workshop. And he said: "Are you sitting down?" I said yes, I was. And he said: "Well, have I got a surprise for you! You won’t believe it - we have won the lottery!"’ Peggy went on: ‘I didn’t believe it, so I rang the lottery people in Brisbane and they confirmed it. Nearly a million dollars!’ Ron and Peggy, an ex-BOAC senior typiste, had won a luxury Gold Coast home, a car, the book-buyer’s prize and $5,000 in cash - $970,000 worth. ‘People have said being a couple of old battlers we deserved it. Isn’t that nice? I think it’s true. We were paying off our car and Ron works his butt off in the workshop every day. ‘We plan to go back to the UK for one last trip to touch the green grass of home. I get a lump in my throat when I think of the lovely country lanes and wonderful cottages. And maybe - just maybe - while we’re there, I might catch a Max Bygraves show...’ And this time - in the front row – Max said there will be his special guest: Peggy Boakes. With a firm invitation to go back stage... When Max heard of her win, he phoned her, using a Cockney accent, saying he was a distant relative; he was bringing "the family" to stay. Then Max told Peggy about the man who had won the British lottery, ‘Camelot’.... ‘The lottery official arrived at his door and told him he had won nine million pounds! He then asked the man what he would do with it all. Well, he said, he would give up his job. He would fly about the world on Concord, sail on the QE2, lie in the sun in Tahiti... ‘"And what about your wife," asked the official, "does she work?" "Yes," said the man, "she cleans the toilets down at the supermarket." "Well, will she give up her job?" ‘"Bloody hell!" said the man. "Has she had a win too?"’