The winner of Northern Ireland’s largest ever Lottery prize has vowed to use her new-found wealth to help others.
Margaret Loughrey has been speaking of her unbelievable good fortune as people in her home town of Strabane wished her all the best.
She was unemployed and trying to scrape together a few pounds for Christmas out of her £58 per week Jobseeker’s allowance when she took a chance and bought a ticket in the EuroMillions draw.
A day later she was £27m richer after pulling off a seven-billion-to-one chance and getting every number on her Lucky Dip ticket.
She says she’s still taking it all in, but has no plans to leave her home town.
Ms Loughrey said she had a feeling she was going to win something.
“Got up on Wednesday morning, checked the ticket, just had a notion, checked the ticket and that was it — five numbers, two stars, happy days,” she said.
“I never panicked. I'm level-headed and I know I'll think it all through and do the right thing, see to the right people.
“It's in my name at the minute, it's £27m, it's not going to be mine, it's going to be spread around.”
Businessman Peter Lavery, a former bus driver who won more than £10m on the Lottery, has called for the latest EuroMillions winner to be given some space.
He urged Ms Loughrey to take her time and not be rushed into making any decisions too soon.
Mr Lavery advised her: “Stay close to your family, you’re got all the time in the world.”
Mr Lavery said she would be forever known as a Lottery winner. “It’s out and about now, she will now always be known for her win,” he said.
“I hope she enjoys it as much as I’ve enjoyed mine.”
It seems if you fancy becoming Northern Ireland’s latest big Lottery winner, then you should head to the north west.
The £27m win continues the lucky streak for winners from counties Londonderry and Tyrone.
Ms Loughrey became the sixth confirmed big Lottery winner from the region.
Five other Lottery millionaire winners either come from or bought their tickets in the north west, making it the luckiest region in Northern Ireland.
Coleraine man William McConnell started off the region’s lucky streak when he won £3.8m on August 19, 1995.
Strabane also proved a lucky town for Derry man Ryan Magee, who won £6.4m on February 8, 2008.
His winning ticket was bought at the Centra in Ballymagorry Post Office.
Garvagh proved lucky for Seamus Duffy (49), from Greysteel, Co Derry, who won a Lucky Dip jackpot of £4.6m on August 1, 2009.
A random selection of numbers resulted in Denis Doherty from Derry winning £1.6m on July 7, 2007 after he bought his ticket at the Spar, Trench Road.
Limavady man Stephen Boyd won £1.4m when he bought a Lucky Dip ticket at McCloskey’s newsagent’s in Dungiven on July 24, 2012.
Owner Brian McCloskey also sold winning tickets to customers to two other big winners — Ann Logan, who won nearly £500,000 in 2006, and his lifetime friend, Kieran Kelly, who won £91,000 in February, 2012.
Two of the other top 10 public biggest winning millionaires, Iris Jeffrey (£21m) and Mr Lavery (£10.5m), come from Belfast and two from Ballymena.
They are Eamonn Morrison, who won £3.5 in 2001, and Patrick John Millar, who won £1.9m in August 2012.
And Lisburn man Darryl McConnell won £1.3m on August 12, 1998.