Belfast Telegraph

Strabane's joy over Margaret Loughrey's £27m jackpot

BY DONNA DEENEY

There is no doubting that £27m is a life-changing sum of money, but for Margaret Loughrey it will also change the lives of her mother, four brothers and one sister.

Margaret (48) called into her local SuperValu store in Strabane's Main Street on her way home from the dole office and with her last couple of pounds bought a EuroMillions ticket.

With Christmas looming and trying to win a few extra pounds, Margaret never expected to end up with the Press on her doorstep once word got out that she had in fact won quite a few more pounds that she was hoping for.

Margaret has spent her life in Strabane and, like many, she struggled to find employment and has had to endure long periods on benefits, grateful for work when she could get it.

She married in the 1980s but her union with Philip McNally did not last and the couple separated after a year.

In fact, it was her brother John that she called when she realised she had the winning ticket in last Tuesday's EuroMillions and it was in her mother Elizabeth's house that her family and friends met for a celebratory party.

Barry Tourish has known Margaret and her family for a lifetime and like many other people in the town wished her health as well as happiness. He said: "I can only imagine how Margaret and her family are feeling because I am still trying to take the news in, but it could not have happened to a nicer woman.

"Margaret will take this in her stride I think, she has the right nature. You will never get anyone as easy-going as Margaret and her family will keep her right, too.

"I would imagine her brother Tony is on his way home from Madrid where he has lived for quite a few years.

"I know Margaret had always chatted about how much she would love to live in Spain – she can live anywhere she likes now."

There was just as much good feeling from those who don,t know Margaret but are perhaps wishing they did, including Carol McPhilemy, who admitted feeling a little jealous.

She said: "I am very, very happy for her and it does actually go to show you that it can happen to an ordinary person like the rest of us."

Nancy McGhee said: "I suppose if there is a big family they could all be millionaires and I expect she will find she has more relatives now that she ever had."

Majella Dunleavy said: "She won't be worrying about Christmas now I would imagine, or any Christmas to come for that matter."

Margaret Hughes, who was back in Strabane for a family celebration, said: "I just went to SuperValu and got myself a ticket, and I was even served by the same wee girl that sold the winning ticket, so you never know, next week it could be me."

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