Belfast Telegraph

The luckiest ticket in town: newly engaged couple the latest winners in Lottery hot spot

By Donna Deeney

Christmas came early for a young engaged couple who scooped a whopping £100,000 on a National Lottery Rainbow scratchcard.

This was always going to be a special year for Shane Woods and Lauren McCormack from Strabane, who are getting married in September.

Now it looks like their married life will get off to a flying financial start thanks to their big win.

They are, however, just the latest people from the Strabane area who have struck it lucky with big wins.

A new home, a new car and a very nice honeymoon are now all on the horizon for the couple, both aged 26.

Scaffolder Shane, who works with local company P O'Neill Building Services, bought the winning scratchcard on Saturday, December 20 at the Spar store on Urney Road.

He said: "I had actually bought a scratchcard the previous day and won £5 on it so when I went back into the shop, instead of asking for the winnings, I asked for two £2 scratchcards and £1 one.

"I went out to the car and scratched the cards. I was down to the last £1 card with two £5 amounts showing and two £100k amounts showing as I prepared to scratch off the last remaining number.

"To be honest I wasn't even considering the fact that I could win the £100k - my only thought was that I might pick up another fiver. I really didn't believe I could win that amount.

"When the final number revealed £100,000, I honestly couldn't believe it. I checked the number of zeros a couple of times and was even asking myself if it was a fake! It's actually a blur to me when I think back, but I called my fiancée Lauren from the car and told her the news, then I drove up to the house."

Lauren, who works for Customised Training in Strabane, wasn't sure if Shane was being serious when she received the phone call.

She explained: "At first, when Shane phoned me, I thought he was pulling my leg, but I was still really excited and couldn't wait to see him and find out if it was really true. When he arrived home, I could see he was shaking and he was white as a ghost, so I knew it was true. I was squealing with joy and jumping around the place. It was amazing."

The couple plan to spend their winnings on a new home as well as their September wedding and expect to have enough for a new car as well.

It could be you... especially if you live in Strabane

In the past, Strabane has made headlines for high unemployment and deprivation. But it is also home to some of Northern Ireland's richest lottery players and luckiest ticket sellers.

Margaret Loughrey from Strabane was unemployed herself and living on benefits of just £58 a week when she scooped the EuroMillions jackpot last December - the biggest ever jackpot in Northern Ireland.

The owner of Strabane's SuperValu - where Margaret bought her ticket - later revealed scratchcard winners have walked away with prizes of £50,000 and £75,000 from the Main Street shop.

In February 2008, Ryan Magee won £6.5m - his share of a massive £96m EuroMillions jackpot.

The 27-year-old IT specialist bought 11 tickets in four different towns - but the winning ticket was bought near Strabane at the Centra in Ballymagorry Post Office.

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