Derry inventor engineers a £1m win on Lottery
Northern Ireland's latest Lottery millionaire intends to use her new wealth to pursue a career as an inventor.
Anne Canavan scooped £1m in the EuroMillions Mega Friday Draw along with an exclusive luxury holiday for herself and her four children on the tropical island paradise of Song Saa Island in Cambodia.
Now Anne plans to use some of her winnings to fund her latest invention, the Snotblot - an intriguing-sounding wristband that stores tissues within reach to stop runny noses becoming an issue for children and adults.
The inventor, who is based in Derry and Donegal, said the win was a "lightbulb moment". She had purchased her ticket in Sainsbury's on the Strand Road.
"I had taken a friend, who had broken her leg and was suffering from cabin fever, to Sainsbury's for some shopping and whilst there I purchased a ticket for the Tuesday night EuroMillions draw.
"Then before we left, I checked my pocket and I had two pounds in change so, at the last minute I bought myself a ticket for the Friday night draw also. And that turned out to be the winning ticket," Anne said.
"Normally when I buy a ticket for the EuroMillions draw, I'll check the numbers at some stage during the following week. There's never any rush - but on this particular Friday night I suddenly had a feeling and an urge to check them at around 1.30am. I opened the draw results on the internet and I just knew straight away that I was a winner without even looking at my ticket.
"Sure enough, when I checked my ticket I realised that I had won £1m in the millionaires raffle - not to mention a luxury holiday as well.
"It was the strangest thing!"
Now Anne is contemplating what to do with her winnings.
"I think I'm still in shock and it hasn't quite sunk in that I'm now a millionaire," she said.
"I certainly won't be squandering my winnings in any way. There are a few people I'd like to help out, but aside from that I'll be investing it sensibly, setting some aside for my business and making sure that myself and my family are financially secure for years to come.
"It's really amazing to now have the money to pursue my dream of taking some of my inventions to market. I'm having to pinch myself every few minutes to remind myself that it's all really happening."
Anne has no fewer than 12 inventions that she would love to take to market but has never had the funds to progress - until now. Plans are already under way to open an office in the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast, but Derry will remain the hub of her budding business empire.
"I've always wanted to be an inventor and was always trying to come up with the next big idea. In fact, I was probably trying too hard in the early stages. Then I had kids and the ideas started to come thick and fast.
"I'm keeping them all under wraps for the moment but the most advanced product I have to date is the Snotblot, mainly because it was the most affordable for me to develop to an advanced stage, given that I've had to plough all my own money into my inventions so far.
"I had an opportunity to trial the Snotblot in a goodie bag for Derry City Council last year, which was a real success, and since then the council has been really supportive of my efforts. I cannot thank them enough for their support and it is for this reason that, now I have the finances to take my ideas to the next level, I plan to make sure that the business will be headquartered in Derry city."
Some of Northern Ireland’s other lotto winners
Maureen Wilkinson from the Cregagh estate discovered she had won £300,000 on a scratchcard as her son took her to work. After realising she had won the jackpot, she completed her usual five-hour cleaning shift.
Martin McKenna from Co Down won £1m on a scratchcard he bought at Tesco Knocknagoney. The 35-year-old had popped into the shop to pick up a few groceries and took a punt on the £5 scratchcard.
Margaret Loughrey from Strabane was unemployed when she scooped the £27m EuroMillions jackpot, but vows she will invest the money to provide jobs and amenities for local people.