Champagne and tears flow for unemployed Lotto winner who scooped £4.5m
New lottery millionaire Seamus Duffy has revealed how he plans to apply for his first ever passport to fulfil his dream of travelling to America and Australia.
The 49-year-old, born and raised in Co Londonderry, said he had never been further than England as he spoke of how he intends to splash the £4.5m jackpot.
The father said he would look for a new home close to his family as the champagne flowed freely at the Drummond Hotel in Ballykelly yesterday when the cheque for £4,593,096 was handed over by Camelot officials to him and his fiancée Carmel Rogers.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph after receiving his winnings, father-of-six Mr Duffy revealed he will now have to apply for a passport as he has never owned one.
The unemployed digger driver, who was forced to give up his work last year due to arthritis, said his first big purchase would be a Range Rover — something he has always dreamed of owning.
Mr Duffy has six children, ranging from late teens to 27-years-old, from two previous relationships. Less than two years ago he became a grandfather for the first time and he also has five brothers and three sisters.
The eldest of nine children, Mr Duffy said he would be sharing his winnings with his relatives, close friends and children — Sabrina, Darren, Stephanie, Deborah, Melissa and Jennifer.
He said: “I’m so overwhelmed. Even now at the moment I still can’t accept what I have got. It’s hard to take in. I’ve worked on building sites all over, and over in England, and I’ve never really settled down proper but I can now.
“There’s a couple of things I want to do — buy a brand new Range Rover and buy a house.
“I’ve always dreamed of going into a showroom and buying whatever vehicle I wanted.
“I’ll be staying within the county. This is still my home place. I won’t change my ways. And I have the family to sort out.
“As far as I ever was was England. I was five years in England. I have to get a passport. I always wanted to go to America and I have an uncle in Australia so I’ll probably be able to go to them places now.”
Describing his recent lucky streak, Mr Duffy said: “I already had four numbers a few weeks ago on a lucky dip. I thought I had three numbers but when I went into the shop the notes kept coming and it turned out to be four numbers. I thought, ‘Nice one’.
“I did the same numbers for Wednesday and Saturday and a lucky dip for Saturday and a Euromillions for the Friday every week. I was sitting up watching a film and just thought, ‘I’ll check the Lotto now I’m here’. I seen the first number, and then the second, third and fourth and I thought I’ve got four numbers. Then there was the fifth and the sixth as well. I was even looking for the bonus one too!
“I was just gasping, checking them on the computer as well as the TV. Carmel was sleeping. I got her to check and I was saying, ‘This is it for real, this is real!’
“The phone lines were closed and we had to wait until 9am. Don’t know how many cups of tea were drunk. I phoned my mother about 8am and my mother said, ‘Are you joking? You’re joking’. And I said, ‘No the numbers are right in front of me’.
“It’s a dream come true. Everybody has dreams but the dream has actually come true for me.”
Mr Duffy’s fiancée, Carmel Rogers (52) from the Rosemount area of Derry City, said today she did not believe money would change the man she has been with for the past eight years.
She said Mr Duffy “was in a wild way” when he woke her up shortly after he checked his numbers at 2am on Sunday.
“We had to wait until 9am. We were sitting making tea and coffee over and over. We just couldn’t wait until 9am.
“I am glad he won it because he is very good and I hope everything works out for us. We’re hoping to take a wee holiday and then settle down. When he gets his new car we might get a wee house then. I wouldn’t change him for nothing.”
Ms Rogers said that while she “wouldn’t like to be on the news every day” she had met a lot of lovely people in the past weekend.
She added that her partner’s little two-year-old grandson Kyle would now be in line for a treat.
“He is such a lovely wee child, so he is. He is spoilt anyway but he will be more spoilt now,” she laughed.