Belfast Telegraph

Armagh pair NI's biggest ever lottery winners after hitting £115m jackpot

Two of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery millionaires Peter Lavery (right) and Eamon Morrison
Two of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery millionaires Peter Lavery (right) and Eamon Morrison
EuroMillions winner Margaret Loughrey from Strabane
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

A couple from Co Armagh have started the new year with a bang by winning nearly £115m in the EuroMillions lottery.

The lucky pair scooped the £114,969,775.70 jackpot from the New Year's Day EuroMillions draw.

They are the National Lottery's fourth largest ever winners.

The identity of the winners will be unveiled at Belfast's Culloden Estate and Spa this morning.

Their winning numbers were 01, 08, 11, 25, 28, with Lucky Stars 04 and 06.

The biggest ever UK lottery prize is the £161m EuroMillions jackpot won by Chris and Colin Weir from North Ayrshire in July 2011.

The Co Armagh winners will succeed Strabane woman Margaret Loughrey as Northern Ireland's biggest ever lottery winner. She won nearly £27m in December 2013.

Other major winners include Belfast housewife Iris Jeffrey who was suffering from cancer when she won £20.4m in July 2004.

Former bus driver Peter Lavery won £10.2m on May 18, 1996, while Belfast woman Mary Hamilton won a EuroMillions jackpot of £12.9m in November 2014. Mr Lavery told BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra programme that he was delighted a couple from Northern Ireland had won the jackpot.

"They will be in disbelief, some days I'm still in disbelief. Everyone that plays has a chance of winning, you hope that some day it is you, when I won 33 million people played it, but I was the winner," he said.

"You think you'll do A, B and C, but you end up doing X, Y and Z. It leads to different roads, I've enjoyed it and hope they can enjoy it too," Mr Lavery added. "It has changed my life, I've seen the world. They'll get plenty of people trying to give them advice, but they should just take stock for a while and look after it."

He described how the win had changed his life.

"I was driving the bus around Belfast on Sunday after I won on the Saturday, and on the Wednesday I was in St Lucia," Mr Lavery said.

"It was a massive, massive upheaval. It was just unbelievable how 72 hours can change your life."

The North West has also seen its share of lottery success with Londonderry IT worker Ryan Magee winning £6.4m in February 2008.

Seamus Duffy, also from the city, won £4.5m in August 2009 while William McConnell from Coleraine picked up £3.8m in August 1995. Northern Ireland is home to more than 100 lottery millionaires.

The £114m will go a long way. It could buy the couple their own private island - last year an island off the coast of Cork went on the market for €6.75m.

If the pair fancy a holiday home in the US, they could treat themselves to a luxury pad in Palm Beach, Florida.

Northern Ireland golfing superstar Rory McIlroy recently sold his home there for $11.5m.

They could treat themselves to a private jet - the 17-seat Bombardier Global 6000 costs a cool $60.5m.

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