Maureen cleans up with £300,000 lottery scratchcard win on her way to work
A cleaner is in sparkling form after scooping a massive £300,000 on a lottery scratchcard.
And last night another lucky punter was reported to have won a million pounds on a £2 scratchcard.
East Belfast woman Maureen Wilkinson's has been celebrating her six-figure prize after she bought the Bejeweled ticket from her local Mace on her way to work one Sunday morning.
She joins a growing number of National Lottery players in Northern Ireland who have won hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Maureen couldn't believe when she scratched the card that her prayers were answered after years of playing the National Lottery. Now the mother and grandmother has her eye on a new three-piece suite for her home and intends to treat her family to a wonderful Christmas
The 58-year-old from the Cregagh estate was being driven to work by her son Scott when she scratched her way to more than a quarter of a million pounds.
She told him to stop the car after matching three figures on the card she had just purchased that morning from Mace in Greenway. "I couldn't believe it," said Maureen. "I felt sick and was sure that I'd done something wrong. I asked my son to stop the car but he couldn't as we were in traffic.
"But when we came to the next set of traffic lights, he had a quick look and told me that I hadn't gone mad and that I'd really won £300,000."
Maureen added: "He dropped me off at work and I did my usual five-hour shift without saying a word to any of my colleagues, before going home to try and come to terms with what had just happened. I certainly had an extra spring in my step at work that day, though. As I bought the scratchcard on a Sunday, I wasn't able to phone the National Lottery claim line until the next day when much to my joy and relief, they confirmed that I was a winner."
For the cost of a £3 card, players have a one-in-3.71 overall chance of winning a prize, which ranges from £3 to the jackpot £300,000. It's the biggest win that the mother of five grown-up children and grandmother of three has won.
As a regular player of The National Lottery's Gamestore scratchcards, Maureen also buys a ticket for the occasional EuroMillions draw. Maureen lives with her long-term partner Joseph and she's looking forward now to a special family Christmas.
Meanwhile, a dark-haired mystery man who bought a £2 scratchcard at around 9pm last at Tesco's Knocknagoney store was reportedly so shocked at his fortune, he had to get a member of staff to check it for him.
"He came back in and asked me if our scratchcards were all real," said the staff member who was behind the Lotto counter at the time. "I said, 'Yes of course they are' and he said, 'I think I've won a large amount of money'. So I was thinking he had won a few thousand maybe.
"He showed me the card and I saw he had scratched off a six and a one so I said, 'Yes you've definitely but how much?'
"I saw that his hand was covering what the prize was and when he moved it, I saw he had won £1 million. I was shocked myself but he said, 'I think I have to go and sit in my car' - and away he went."
The National Lottery had created 81 millionaires in Northern Ireland with 647 people winning more than £50,000 by October 2014. However, as a region we pale into insignificance compared to every other region in the UK.
Newtownabbey woman Mary Hamilton and her husband were the last couple to be made National Lottery millionaires when they picked up £12.3m in the Euromillions lottery last November. Co Down teenager Calum Fitzpatrick (16) won almost £400,000 in the National Lottery last October.