Memorial service for pools win character Viv Nicholson

A memorial service for Britain’s most famous pools winner Viv Nicholson will be held in her home town of Castleford today (Friday).

Friday, 1st May 2015, 8:57 am
Viv Nicholson and husband Keith collect their Littlewoods pools cheque from Bruce Forsyth

Viv rose to fame when she vowed to “spend, spend, spend” after winning more than £152,000 in 1961.

She died on Saturday, April 11, at the age of 79 after a long battle with dementia.

A memorial service will be held at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Sagar Street from 2pm.

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After the service, her family will gather at the Magnet Hotel, Pontefract Road, from 4pm until 6pm and said anyone wishing to pay their respects can attend.

The family has asked for donations in lieu of funeral flowers to be given to Dementia UK.

Viv’s son Howard said: “Mum truly was unique and she was a real character. She was also rebel in the fact that she would not conform to normality because that just wasn’t Viv.

“She was one in a million both as a character and as a mum. She lived life to the absolute full and had no regrets.”

It took Viv and her husband Keith, a former miner, just three years to spend their winnings – the equivalent of £3.5m today.

Viv was working as a liquorice factory worker when the couple won the jackpot on their first attempt at playing the pools.

The couple splashed out on flash cars, jewellery and a new ranch-style home in Garforth.

Mr Nicholson has also set up a JustGiving website where people can make donations to the charity in memory of Viv.

For more information or to donate visit

It has raised more than £360 for Dementia UK since it was set up.