Bumper year for Lottery payouts
Hundreds of lottery winners claimed a total of £720 million in a record year for bumper payouts, the National Lottery has said.
Men were considerably luckier than women in the 17th year of the game, picking up 60% of the jackpots.
Builders, administrators and transport drivers were the most fortunate professions, according to statistics compiled by the National Lottery.
The biggest ever jackpot prize of £161 million was won by Colin and Chris Weir in the EuroMillions draw in July, and 229 millionaires were created in the last 12 months - the most ever in a single year. Last year saw 158 jackpot winners.
People born under the Taurus star sign (April 10 to May 10) claimed more top prizes than any other sign of the zodiac, and more than a third (34%) of jackpot winners claimed to have received a "sign" that they were about to come into money.
The boost to the number of millionaires created in 2011 meant that the National Lottery has now created more than 2,750 millionaires since its launch in 1994.
A National Lottery spokesman said: "This has been an extraordinary year for our players with so many new millionaires and multi-millionaires created. There have been some huge prizes paid out during the last 12 months - and we've also been told that many of our big winners have created additional millionaires themselves as a result of their win, which is fantastic news."
In October Dave and Angela Dawes landed the second biggest prize of the year in the form of a £101 million EuroMillions cheque.
Other big winners in 2011 included Matt Breach, from Battle in East Sussex, who scooped a Lotto Triple Rollover jackpot prize of £17.7 million in March, while a syndicate of 16 shop workers from Asda in Hyde, Derbyshire shared a Lotto jackpot prize of £6.8 million in October.
The month of June saw the highest number of millionaires created when 37 individuals claimed more than £1 million, and July saw the highest amount of prize money paid out - more than £230 million.