Belfast Telegraph

Lucky Northern Ireland notches up 133 new millionaires since first lotto draw

Former Miss Northern Ireland Anna Henry celebrating The National Lottery’s 25th Birthday
Former Miss Northern Ireland Anna Henry celebrating The National Lottery’s 25th Birthday
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

Northern Ireland is on a winning streak - it's now the second most likely place in the UK to win a major prize in the National Lottery.

The National Lottery has been in existence for over 25 years and 34 new millionaires have been created in the last three years alone.

And Northern Ireland ranks second out of 121 UK postcodes in the league table of National Lottery millionaires, with 133 millionaires created here since the first Lotto draw in November 1994.

More than a quarter of all Northern Ireland's millionaires to date have been made in the past three years.

Broken down, someone living here now wins a million pounds or more every 32 days.

Even with fewer wins, Northern Ireland is also one of the luckiest postcodes nationally for big winners of £50,000 or more, ranking third in the UK over the past three years and sixth since 1994. And a life-changing amount of £50k or more has been banked by 788 players, one every 11.6 days.

Across the UK, the National Lottery has made 5,500 millionaires over the last 25 years and has awarded £71 billion in prize money, with a staggering £40 billion raised for good causes, and currently around £30m raised every week.

The luck people here appear to have could not have been better illustrated than when Moira couple Frances and Patrick Connolly had one of the biggest ever National Lottery wins after scooping an incredible £114,969,775.70 EuroMillions jackpot on New Year's Day.

The couple succeeded Strabane woman Margaret Loughrey as Northern Ireland's biggest ever lottery winner, claiming nearly £27m in December 2013.

Other major local 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.

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.

Andy Carter, the National Lottery's Senior Winners' Adviser, said that the National Lottery has impacted on the lives of a lot of people in Northern Ireland.

"For 25 years now, the National Lottery has been making amazing things happen for winners and good causes," he said.

"Over £1.2 billion has been awarded in grants to more than 25,000 individuals, organisations and projects across the province.

"The SSE Arena, Millennium Forum, Lyric Theatre, SS Nomadic and Seamus Heaney Centre have all been beneficiaries."

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