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I thought someone was playing a prank, says NI man who scooped £1m

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Shawn Keeley (26) from Dungiven celebrates becoming Northern Ireland’s latest National Lottery millionaire after winning the jackpot on a scratchcard

Shawn Keeley (26) from Dungiven celebrates becoming Northern Ireland’s latest National Lottery millionaire after winning the jackpot on a scratchcard

Shawn Keeley (26) from Dungiven celebrates becoming Northern Ireland’s latest National Lottery millionaire after winning the jackpot on a scratchcard

A store manager who scooped a £1m lottery win in the shop where he works has revealed he almost thought he had been the victim of a prank.

Shawn Keeley (26) from Dungiven bought the winning '£50M Mega Cash Showdown' scratchcard at McNicholl's Eurospar on Station Road - the store that he manages.

A Ulster University graduate, Shawn said that he is now planning to treat his family with his windfall.

He purchased some scratchcards at the end of a shift which led him to buying his winning card.

"It all started when I bought a couple of £3 scratchcards on the Friday night," explained Shawn. "I won £30 on those so, as I was leaving work around 5.30pm on Saturday evening, I bought a couple of £5 scratchcards with my winnings."

It was only when Shawn arrived home and was preparing to get ready for a socially distanced garden party with friends that he remembered he had the scratchcards in his jacket.

He said he could not believe it when he discovered the numbers on one of the cards matched, and he had won the top prize of £1m.

"At first I thought it must be a fake card and I checked every inch of it to make sure it was real," continued Shawn.

"I ran through the details with a lovely lady on the end of the phone before she said the magic words… 'Congratulations, you've won a million pounds'," he recalled.

"I really couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was still trying to process what was happening while my mum was already making plans for a new asphalt driveway at the front of the house, which they've been working on.

"Then she phoned my brother Paul in England and I texted my brother Gavin in Australia - both of whom naturally thought we were joking," he laughed.

Shawn, however, was soon brought back down to earth after he received a phone call from the store assistant who had earlier sold him the winning scratchcard.

"The call came through and immediately I thought this was it - I'd been the victim of an elaborate prank," said Shawn. "But it turned out there was just a problem with the fridge in the shop so I had to go round and fix it, knowing that I'd literally just won a million."

Despite his new millionaire status, Shawn says that he will continue to work at McNicholl's Eurospar.

As well as a new driveway and shed for his mum, and treating the rest of his family, he wants to buy a Range Rover and go on a holiday abroad.

Shawn said customers have been popping into the store to congratulate him since news of his win broke locally.

"It's crazy, because it's only been a matter of weeks since I was chatting to customers about Robert Fullerton from Castledawson who won £300,000 on a scratchcard in May," he added.

"We were just saying how amazing it would be to win that sort of money.

"Now here I am, just two months later, having won a million quid. It just goes to show that anyone can win it at any time.

"I just feel lucky and blessed that on this occasion, it was my turn."

Belfast Telegraph