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Northern Ireland's big winner Peter Lavery says EuroMillions couple need long holiday


Peter Lavery

Peter Lavery

Peter Lavery

Peter Lavery

Peter Lavery

Northern Ireland multi-millionaire Peter Lavery knows what it's like to come into a windfall.

It was just over 15 years ago when the busman from Belfast's Short Strand bagged £10.2m on the National Lottery.

And upon hearing of the Scottish couple's £161m EuroMillions win, Peter said it brought him right back to when he won in May 1996.

In the aftermath of his windfall, Peter took his long-term girlfriend, family and friends on a no- expense spared trip to the tropical island of St Lucia.

That, he said, was the only way he could get his head around the enormity of what had happened.

"It's not for me to give advice, but they should put the money in the bank for a while and take themselves off on holiday," he said.

"They need to sit back, relax and take it easy for the next three or four months because they don't have to do anything else."

Despite his new-found riches, the well-known community worker took to the roads as a driver for Lagan Tours for one last shift.

At the time, he also vowed that he would never allow the money to change him as a person, or override his working-class roots.

Peter, 49, went on: "It's probably the biggest shock of their lives.

"They probably bought tickets thinking it would be a dream to win, but now it's a reality - and it probably hasn't sunk in yet."

Even today, Peter is inundated with begging letters and pleas for money, which is something he expects to befall the EuroMillions winners.

"They won 16 times more than me - and what I won was a lot of cash," he said.

"Especially now, with the recession, they will be plagued with people looking for money, but that's something Camelot will prepare them for."

When asked what was the best thing about winning the lottery, Peter, who now lives in a Tudor-style mansion in leafy north Down, quipped: "Not having to drive a bus".

The successful businessman, who has since launched his own brand of whisky, added: "I probably work harder now than ever before."

Belfast Telegraph