Tumour op woman 'luckiest person on planet' after £61m EuroMillions win
A mother who felt lucky after surviving a tumour operation in the US has described how she rang her daughter back home to insist she bought a lottery ticket - and won £61.1 million.
Sonia Davies, 53, who was in Florida with partner Keith Reynolds, 55, recovering from an operation to remove the tumour from her parathyroid gland, said: "I later found out that the tumour could have been fatal if it wasn't removed.
"Once I got the all-clear, I felt like I was on cloud nine.
"When we heard about the EuroMillions jackpot, I thought we were on a roll, so why not?
"I never thought we'd win but I just felt like luck was shining down on us."
Describing what happened next, Ms Davies, who had combined the operation with a holiday, said: "We called up my daughter, Courtney, to ask her to go and buy a ticket.
"Because she was travelling at the time, we called Stephanie instead as something told us we needed to get a ticket.
"Stephanie asked me 'really? do I have to?', especially as there was only 30 minutes left to buy a ticket."
Sales executive Stephanie, 23, whose 30-year-old boyfriend Steve Powell is also part of the syndicate, added: " It was a bit of a mad dash to get the tickets because mum's call came in late on Friday.
"My car was blocked in the drive by my boyfriend Steve's, so to save time I made him drive me to buy a ticket instead of moving mine."
The couple headed to the Overmonnow Garage in Monmouth and bought six lucky dips for Friday's draw - but did not check their tickets until the early hours of Sunday morning.
Project manager Mr Powell said: " She (Stephanie) said 'If I shout down it means we've won the lottery and if not, I've gone to bed'. She came down crying."
Stephanie, whose father died a few years ago, added: "As soon as I saw that ticket I had my hands over my eyes, I was shaking, I was crying,
"I said to Steve 'for once in my life I am not even joking'. We checked the ticket about 10 times over.
"We locked all our windows and doors and spoke in hushed voices just in case someone could hear that we had won.
"We later took selfies with the tickets just in case we lost it."
She then phoned her mother, who was waiting to board her delayed flight home.
Admin assistant Sonia said: "All I could hear was Steph sobbing down the phone and the odd muffled word. I thought she'd told me she'd lost her dog.
"Then I heard Steve shouting 'we've won £61 million'.
"We put them on speaker phone so Keith and I could both listen, but realised everyone in the airport could hear, so we huddled round a bin while we checked the numbers and realised we really had won.
"It was the longest flight of our life. We did think about coming home in business class but decided against it as it was too expensive."
Stephanie then phoned up her teenage sister Courtney, the fifth member of their syndicate, to break the news at 1.45am.
Describing their conversation, Courtney, who is studying psychology at the University of Southampton, said: "We kept repeating 'oh my God' to each other, over and over.
"In the end we had to say bye and hang up as we were so in shock we weren't actually talking to each other."
The family - who hail from Monmouthshire in south-east Wales - said they were still considering what to do with their £12,220,488 shares of the £61,102,442 jackpot.
Stephanie and her partner bought their first home together at Christmas and can finally finish renovating their bathroom - as they've been without one for months while doing the refurbishment work themselves.
Younger sister Courtney plans to complete her degree before deciding what to do next.
The 19-year-old said she would love to buy a new car to replace her VW Fox, which has wind-up windows and no air con, as well as an electric toothbrush.
Ms Davies and Mr Reynolds, a regional director, who live near Ross-on-Wye, will share their win with family and friends - though she would like a new oak-framed carport for their home.
"Sonia and I are still planning to go back to work," said Mr Reynolds. "We are not materialistic people and also a close family as well, so I think that will help us stay grounded."
Ms Davies added: "I don't think it will change us.
"I would hate people to think 'oh look at them, they think they're better than us now' because we are not that kind people.
"We've now got the ability to help family and friends - and we will do that. But we won't go over the top. We're not flashy people.
"The most important thing is my health. I'd take that over a lottery win any day.
"I must admit that after the success of the op and then winning the jackpot, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet."
The winning numbers from the EuroMillions draw on Friday were 1, 21, 26, 40, 50 and Lucky Stars 2 and 4.