An enlightened angel has brought to Mayorga de Campos (Valladolid) the amount of one hundred forty-four million five hundred forty-two thousand three hundred and fifteen euros, a figure that in Mayorga is summarized as “a pasture” so as not to be out of breath when pronouncing it. In figures, 144,542,315 euros. Ángel Iluminado Alonso runs the La Central bar and its betting administration, where the combination of numbers was played in the EuroMillion draw that has graced some eight million euros – once the Treasury collects its regulatory 20% – each of the 14 neighbors who played. On Tuesday night they were shocked to hear they were millionaires and on Wednesday they celebrated with champagne, beer, wine and everything that could refresh the throats of a town of 1,700 inhabitants haunted by depopulation andloss of rural work that feeds the area.
Ángel smoothes his mustache and smiles proudly: everyone wants to take a photo with him, with the poster announcing the award and, incidentally, to pay a round. This former shearer who hung the scissors and went to the bars has decided that his first “whim” will be to travel to New Zealand. He can hardly explain, among so much praise, that of the blessed sequence, made up of 41, 33, 23, 12, 16 and the stars 8 and 10, only two numbers have a special meaning. The rest were the result of a chance that Mayorga has revolutionized. The owner of the place where his fortune has been distributed, Nicolás Martínez, looks like a millionaire with 75 years and the only thing that matters to him is being with his family: “Later, we’ll see.” This man is one of those who contributed to buy the ticket that has changed their lives.
The flood of millions puts a smile on the face of a perennial reality in rural Castilian-Leon, punished by depopulation and abandonment. Marcos Pérez, 62 and owner of a slaughterhouse, says that the only European money they knew in Mayorga was the Common Agrarian Policy. The young Raquel Lezcano, 22, also participates in the award and does not even know what she will do with it. so much ticket. She continues to work piecemeal, serving coffees and drinks to a sick parish. The lease expires in two years and there will be time to think about how to invest these funds.
Ángel Iluminado Alonso shows the millionaire ticket in front of his bar in Mayorga de Campos (Valladolid).
Ángel Iluminado Alonso shows the millionaire ticket in front of his bar in Mayorga de Campos (Valladolid). JAVIER ÁLVAREZ
The speech of the different winners who drop by La Central coincides: family, head and health. Some just stop for a few minutes before continuing with the workday. The character of those who have been working for decades asks them to be cautious and meet with their own to decide what to do with it. David Magdaleno, eternal midfielder of that seasoned Mayorga soccer team unbeatable in his field, celebrates that his father enters the quota of new millionaires and jokes with buying part of Real Valladolid from its president, the legendary Ronaldo Nazario. The mayor, his brother Alberto Magdaleno (PP), hopes that his wedding, postponed by the pandemic, will take place in a more flattering context than so far in 2020: both he and his partner had lost their jobs. However,
The winners are now of an age, like most residents in the area, and run small businesses such as the bakery, a metal shop, or bars. Both the regidor and Mario Medina, who manages another much less effusive tavern, are suspicious that the award anticipates the retirement wishes of these veteran entrepreneurs and that no one continues their lineage , thus advancing the rate of decline of a place where there were once 500 immigrants who they lived in the country. The crisis scared them away and now the amount is much lower. “This is the reality of the rural environment,” acknowledges Magdaleno.
The Bulgarian community abounded among foreigners and there are even two shops for products from Eastern Europe. Diyana Dimitrova dispatches in one of them, full of Cyrillic posters that contrast in the traditional landscape with bullfighting motifs of Mayorga. “Enjoy health,” he asks, and pray that this potosí magazine benefits the locality. The young Elsa Pérez, cashier in a small supermarket, stresses the value of money staying in town, fed up with seeing her fifth-year classmates leave when they lack opportunities .
The decision will come out of the pockets of those who continue to enjoy themselves in the arcades of the Plaza de España, in front of the Town Hall. The slot machine caresses with coins that the European fortune did not embrace; the euphoria makes it difficult to keep the regulatory distance in a town where the coronavirus did not appear and the only anger comes from a man who grumbles because one of the winners has not shaken hands “just in case.”