Early festive cheer as mystery winner claims £1.8m lotto
It is the ultimate early Christmas present - cashing in on a cool £1.8m win on the lottery.
The owner of the golden ticket has now stepped forward to scoop an amazing £1,796,081.
The winner has so far not opted for any publicity so the National Lottery has not revealed their identity.
Earlier this week the lottery had put out a public appeal for the ticket owner to come forward and they revealed it had been bought in the Newry and Mourne area.
The winning numbers came up on Saturday, November 29.
That sparked rummaging down the back of sofas and searching of coat pockets across the land.
It remains to be seen however if the winner had mislaid their ticket or whether the cool customer delayed collecting their winnings, perhaps in the hope of not creating a public fuss.
The winning Lotto numbers on the last Saturday of November were 6, 11, 18, 19, 38, 42 and the bonus ball was 17.
And the ticket owner claimed their cash with plenty of time to spare as they had until May 28, 2015. In a statement, the National Lottery indicated that unless the winner of a major National Lottery prize opts to take full publicity and signs an agreement, no further information can be released about their win.
A National Lottery spokesman said: "We're delighted that the winner of this amazing prize has now come forward, especially just before Christmas, and we hope that they will enjoy their win.
"It would have been awful if the ticket-holder had missed out on this substantial and life-changing amount of money.
"We would like to remind all National Lottery players to check their tickets every time they play."
If no one had come forward with the winning ticket before the prize claim deadline, then the prize money, plus all the interest it had generated, would have gone to help National Lottery-funded projects across the UK."
Last month Newtownabbey woman Mary Hamilton won £12.9m on the Euromillions draw in one of the biggest wins here, and earlier this month Lauren McLarnon, also from Newtownabbey, won £100,000 on a scratch card.
The biggest ever jackpot winner here was Strabane woman Margaret Loughrey who scooped £27m on the Euromillions lottery last December.
She gave most of her winnings away or used it for community projects such as buying the former Herdman's Mill site.
She has snapped up the massive 62-acre complex on the banks of the River Mourne and plans to turn it into a leisure and tourism destination, with a museum highlighting the north west's industrial heritage, and sports and community facilities for local people.
The Newry and Mourne area saw more lottery luck recently when teenager Callum Fitzpatrick (16) won £390,643.