New world champion Stuart Bingham said holding aloft the winner’s trophy at the Crucible means more to him than the £300,000 prize money.
Bingham, 38, became the oldest world champion since 1978 by beating Shaun Murphy 18-15 in Sheffield.
He said: “My manager won’t like this, but I could easily donate that money because it doesn’t mean anything to me.
“Just to put my hands on that trophy, seeing all the names on it, that’s just everything. It means so much.”
Welshman Ray Reardon is the oldest person to win the World Championship, securing his sixth title in 1978, aged 45.
Pre-tournament outsider Bingham, who rises to number two in the world rankings, shocked five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, as well as Judd Trump, on the way to taking the title.
His 145 break in the quarter-final against O’Sullivan was also enough for him to share with Australian Neil Robertson the £10,000 cheque for highest break.
At 15-15 in the final, having let a 14-11 lead slip, Bingham said he thought he had ruined his opportunity to win the title.
“Coming into the final session, I was talking to my wife and saying ‘I don’t want to go out there’. I felt that nervous,” he said.
“Losing three of the first four frames I thought I blew it but, somehow, I held myself together.
“The crowd erupted as I potted the match ball and I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.”
Bingham, the oldest first-time winner in Crucible history, said the recognition he now received after his successful fortnight in Sheffield was “unreal”.
He also paid tribute to his father-in-law, who died last year, and said he was going to “embrace” life as a world champion.
Bingham, a keen collector of snooker memorabilia, said he had “got my hands” on the table used for the final.
He added: “I’ll hopefully move to a nice new house and have that in my games room somewhere.
“I’m a bit of a snooker geek. I want to get my hands on the set of balls and hopefully get the white gloves off the referee as well so my boy can look back at all the stuff I’ve collected over the years.”
From journeyman to world champion
Stephen Feeney, Bingham’s coach, said his charge would now go on to win more titles despite being relatively old for a snooker player.
“I told Stuart five years ago I’d turn him into a winner and a world champion and it’s just awesome. He’s such a talent,” said Feeney.
“It’s a dream for him, it’s a dream for me. He is a winner but he’s a special guy too.
“He’ll be up for defending this, he’ll want to win more. His age is no issue.
“He’s won the hearts of many people, many fans. Ronnie O’Sullivan texted him to say well done. They’ve all looked at him in recent weeks and realised he’s come of age.”
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