Belfast Telegraph

Oh, that's nice! Belfast woman Iris Jeffrey, on hearing she'd won record £20.1 MILLION National Lottery jackpot

By Claire Regan, Ashleigh Wallace and Paul Dykes

A 58-year-old Belfast woman who is battling cancer was today unveiled as the winner of the UK's biggest lottery windfall of more than £20m.

After days of intense speculation, Camelot bosses announced that Iris Jeffrey from Woodvale has come forward to claim the staggering amount.

The £20,100,472 jackpot winner is a mother of two grown-up daughters, Wendy (32) and Karen (28) and is due to become a grandmother next week.

Mrs Jeffrey's husband, 62-year-old Robert (known to his friends as Raymond) is a handyman at a dental laboratory on Belfast's Crumlin Road.

Mrs Jeffrey bought her winning ticket at the Ballygomartin Tesco store.

The delighted former home help said she did not realise she was sitting on such a fortune until she saw the recent publicity calling for the winner to come forward.

"I had put my tickets in a cupboard and had forgotten about them," she said.

"It was not until I was at home with my husband watching TV when I saw that there was an outstanding Lotto prize.

"I wrote down the numbers and checked them against my tickets. I thought that I had all six but I couldn't really believe it.

"I asked my daughter Wendy to check it for me and when she confirmed the win, I said: 'Oh, I have won. That's nice.'

"I don't think I realised quite what had happened!"

Mrs Jeffrey, who is to face major surgery in a few weeks time in her battle against cancer of the gullet revealed that she celebrated by drinking a glass of milk.

The housewife was diagnosed with the disease only four months ago and has been undergoing chemotherapy.

Even though she praised the medical care provided in Belfast, the jackpot winner accepted she may have to look overseas for all available treatments.

She said: "The daughters want me to do that."

Her eldest child Wendy, insisted nothing else mattered.

"That was the first priority when we heard Mum had got the six numbers.

"It was just to see if there was any further treatment available. We will be looking into that to see if there's anything else we can do to try to get a more speedy recovery for her."

The jackpot winner will become a grandmother for the first time within weeks, as Karen is pregnant.

Mrs Jeffrey said her first wish was to make sure her family is secure and also to look after her friends.

"We have family in Australia and Canada and they have already been celebrating our good fortune.

"The big excitement to follow our windfall has to be the prospect of becoming a grandmother. Our Lotto win means that I can really spoil the new arrival."

Mrs Jeffrey also plans to splash out on a brand new car for husband. Even though they could now have their pick from top of the range sports cars, the couple are debating between a more humble Renault Clio or Volkswagen Golf.

The couple also plan a holiday to their dream location of Las Vegas.

Mrs Jeffrey painfully accepted her win meant she will probably have to move from her modest home.

She said: "I really don't want to. I don't want to leave my friends and neighbours."

Earlier this week, Camelot set a January 10 deadline for the ticket holder to collect the jackpot.

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