Couple 'thought £53m win was joke'
A retired couple who have become one of the country's biggest ever National Lottery winners after bagging a "life-changing" £53 million at first thought it was an April Fool's joke.
Richard and Angela Maxwell, both 67 and from Coningsby near Boston in Lincolnshire, banked £53,193,914 after winning the EuroMillions jackpot in Tuesday's draw.
They are now in 10th place on the National Lottery rich list and are expected to reveal their plans this afternoon.
It comes after another Lincolnshire couple beat odds of 283 billion-to-one to win £1 million in the EuroMillions lottery for a second time.
Mr Maxwell, a semi-retired consultant in the poultry industry, said: "I always keep our lottery tickets in the kitchen drawer so I took a break and went online to check the results.
"I looked first at the two Lucky Stars and noticed we had those. Then I scanned across to the first main number and immediately knew they all matched our numbers.
"I checked again and again, five times in total, as I couldn't believe it.
"Then I saw only one ticket had won £53 million and I was in shock. I thought someone had scanned my ticket somehow and put it on the website as a joke. It was April Fool's Day after all."
Mr Maxwell kept the win to himself for four more hours until wife Angela got home from helping to cook for a local OAP luncheon club.
He said: "I knew Angela would be busy and wouldn't answer her mobile phone so I waited til she got home.
"I kept myself busy making cups of tea for the builders because I couldn't sit still but didn't say anything to anyone."
When his wife came back carrying a basket of tea towels and asking about dinner plans, Mr Maxwell said: "Angela, I've got something to tell you."
Mrs Maxwell said: "I didn't know what to think. Richard just went red in the face and then said 'we've won £53 million'.
"I just said 'don't be stupid' - he's always playing jokes so I thought it was an April's Fool.
"I just didn't believe it, then he showed me the numbers on the website and I dropped the basket of tea towels on the floor. I then just sat down in the chair for about half-an-hour stunned."
When the couple called their two daughters, Sharon, 45, and Paula, 44, they too thought it was an April Fool's joke.
The couple are still thinking about what to do with the huge windfall but have already decided to upgrade a planned holiday to New Zealand - by taking the whole family first-class.
Sports fan Mr Maxwell said he will now be able to retire completely to enjoy following Boston United and big sporting events, and play golf and bowls.
He is also going to treat himself to a Range Rover, while his wife plans to splash out on designer handbags and shoes.,
Mr Maxwell said: "It's a life-changing amount of money - £1 million would have been amazing but £53 million enables you to do so much, not just for you, but those around you.
"Our local community is really important to us, in particular helping young people in the area. The win will enable us to spend more time getting involved, as well as give financial support."
Last Friday, Dave and Kathleen Long, from Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire, won their second £1 million after first scooping the big money prize in July 2013.
Mr Long said yesterday that he "just knew it would be my turn again some day" as the couple become the first people to win £1 million twice who have gone public.
And the former lorry driver has not ruled out winning for a third time despite being perplexed at being labelled the luckiest man in Britain.
The record for the biggest ever National Lottery win is held by husband and wife Colin and Chris Weir, from Largs in Ayrshire.
They said they were "tickled pink" after claiming £161,653,000 in July 2011 to rank among Europe's biggest lottery winners.
Psychiatric nurse Mrs Weir and her husband, who worked as a TV cameraman and studio manager for 23 years, reportedly bought a fleet of cars for friends as well as a mansion with their winnings.
They are followed on the rich list by Adrian and Gillian Bayford, from Haverhill, Suffolk, who won £148,656,000 in August 2012, and an anonymous ticket-holder who scooped £113,019,926 in October 2010.
Mr Maxwell said he survived prostate cancer eight years ago.
He said: "I had three operations and it was successful in the end. I was very ill for quite a while. That's why I retired from full-time work."
Mr Maxwell said his experience had inspired some of his fundraising and added that his motorcycling group has raised £50,000 for Macmillan nurses in the last three years.
Asked if he ever thought when he was diagnosed with cancer that he would be here today, he said: "Not at all. When you get that diagnosis you're pleased to see tomorrow."