Belfast Telegraph

Newtownabbey husband and wife win a life-changing £12.9m in lottery prize

By Michelle Smyth

A Newtownabbey couple are set to have a very merry Christmas after scooping a £12.9m lottery win.

The husband and wife team got lucky with Friday's Euromillions draw. Their names have not yet been released but they are due to go public with their windfall news today at a Press conference.

A source close to the couple told the Belfast Telegraph last night: "This is fantastic news. They are just really good, hard-working people. It is much deserved. I imagine they will want to travel with the money."

The last major lottery winner here who went public was Margaret Loughrey from Strabane, who won £27m in the Euromillions last December.

The kind-hearted 48-year-old donated £26m of her windfall to the needy and so that her home-town could have a facelift. She kept just £1m for herself.

Margaret, who was unemployed when she bought the lucky dip ticket on her way home from the job centre, said: "I know what it's like to have nothing, that's why I'm giving it away - I can't miss what I never had. As soon as I won the money I said it would go for the good of the town. I always said one for me, and the rest for the town."

In May 1996, Belfast bus driver Peter Lavery won £10,248,233 in the National Lottery.

Lavery enjoyed the high life in the first few years, spending half a million on cars - including two Jaguars, a couple of four-wheel drives and a DeLorean, as well as splashing out on no less than 70 cruise holidays.

He says that he has now increased his wealth by investing it in his property and whiskey distillery businesses.

The 52-year-old from the east of the city, who claims to have been "lucky" all his life, said: "I work harder today than I did before 1996."

He has realised that money cannot bring happiness: "You have to be happy in yourself first. Money can open a lot of doors. Money can solve problems, like the fact that I haven't had to drive a bus for the last 18 years. Money can give you reassurance, but it doesn't bring happiness," he said.

Last month 16-year-old Callum Fitzpatrick from Co Down won almost £400,000 after picking five winning numbers and the bonus ball in the October 18 Lotto draw.

The teenager is the youngest person from Northern Ireland to win such a large amount in the lottery.

The National Lottery is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week. Since the first draw on November 19, 1994, it has created 81 millionaires here.

Factfile

Euromillions is a Europe- wide lottery that takes place on Tuesday and Friday evenings, pooling the stakes from players across the EU to create huge jackpots. The first EuroMillions lottery draw took place on February 13, 2004, presented by three lottery organisers —Camelot in the UK, Française des Jeux in France and the Loterias y Apuestas des Estad in Spain. The first jackpot was €15m.

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