Belfast Telegraph

Winning start to New Year for Northern Ireland woman scooping £285k in EuroMillions draw

'It really is a life-changing experience and we are very grateful'

The New Year has got off to a winning start for a Dungiven woman who scooped £285k in the EuroMillions draw - and she has her mum to thank.

Roisin McNicholl (44) from Dungiven purchased the EuroMillion lucky dip ticket from Easons in Coleraine and matched the five main numbers and one Lucky Star number to become £285,288.60 richer.

Roisin lives with her husband Martin and children Ciara (22) and Oisin (20) and says it's her mum she should thank - as she bought the ticket while birthday shopping for her mum.

She said: “It was actually my mum’s seventy-third birthday on December 19 so my daughter Ciara and I went to Coleraine to buy her a new phone for her birthday

“There was a huge EuroMillions jackpot on offer that night so once we had finished our shopping, Ciara bought a couple of lines for the big draw and I bought a Lucky Dip – on top of my usual numbers that I had already done earlier.  That turned out to be the lucky ticket.

“So, had we not gone to Coleraine to buy a birthday present for Mum, I would never have bought the winning ticket in that particular store."

On the way to her mum's house that night near Maghera Roisin discovered she had won.

“We were on our way to deliver our birthday present to Mum and Ciara was driving so I checked the EuroMillions numbers on my National Lottery phone app.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw the five main numbers matching one by one, and then a Lucky Star as well.

“I felt excited and a bit sick at the same time and told Ciara to pull the car over to the side of the road.  ‘Please don’t do this to me’ she said and I gave the ticket to her boyfriend Kevin to check for me as I was in a real tizzy.  He had a look and I could see the colour drain from his face.  Then, white as a sheet, he said I was right and that the numbers were a match.

“The three of us sat in the car in total disbelief for a while and I phoned my husband Martin who was working in England to tell him the news.  He didn’t believe me at first but it slowly sank in.”

Roisin continued: “Once we had calmed down a bit, we continued our journey to break the news to my mum and brother.  When we got there, I said ‘Happy birthday Mum, I’ve just won the Lottery’. 

"Nobody believed me until they saw the ticket and it wasn’t long until we were all crying… tears of joy of course. So her birthday turned into a double celebration that night.

“After that, it was ages before I could sleep again with all the excitement.  Every time I closed my eyes, I couldn’t help thinking about what had just happened.  I still couldn’t believe it,” she added.

Martin, a self-employed joiner, flew back from England two days after the draw to join in the celebrations.

The couple will celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in July this year and are planning a trip to New York to visit Roisin’s sister and cousins.

The prize money will also go towards paying off the mortgage and carrying out some work around the house.

Roisin plays EuroMillions regularly and Lotto ‘when the jackpot starts to rise’, as well as ‘the occasional scratchcard’.  In 2012, she won almost two thousand pounds in a Lotto draw but she never dreamt of winning such a huge prize.

“It’s an amazing feeling.

“I never thought we would win something like this – I suppose no-one thinks they will but it goes to show that it really can happen to anyone.  It really is a life-changing experience and we are very grateful.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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