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Lottery win is the cat’s whiskers for couple who are Set for Life

Gavin and Sylvia Odolant-Smith have won £10,000 a month for the next 30 years after buying a lucky dip ticket.

Sylvia Odolant-Smith with her cat (Nigel Roddis/PA)
Sylvia Odolant-Smith with her cat (Nigel Roddis/PA)

By Laura Parnaby, PA

A couple who have won £10,000 a month for the next 30 years have said the first thing they spent cash on was urgent medical treatment for their cat.

Gavin and Sylvia Odolant-Smith won the National Lottery Set For Life game – worth £3.6 million – after buying a lucky dip ticket.

The couple, of Battersea, south-west London, have used the windfall to start treatment on 13-year-old rescue cat Phangan, who has had her cheek removed after being diagnosed with face cancer.

They have booked Phangan in for a previously unaffordable CT scan and will learn the results on Wednesday night.

Mr Odolant-Smith, 50, said Phangan “sleeps with us every night”, along with the couple’s other 13-year-old cat, Zia.

They had only been buying lottery tickets for six weeks before they struck lucky, and Mrs Odolant-Smith, 42, said she screamed so loud after discovering the win – at 6.30am on October 24 – that her husband “thought someone was breaking in”.

Mr Odolant-Smith, who manages 20 pubs in London, said: “I picked up a rolling pin; I was going to go downstairs to see if we were being burgled.

“I was all blurry-eyed… then I thought it must be a hoax – it’s been hacked, it’s not going to be true.”

Catering company manager Mr Odolant-Smith said once the winnings were confirmed, she was “shaking.”

She said: “Gavin couldn’t control his emotions, I was trying to keep him calm but it was impossible, he was just jumping around all the time.

“Everything has just been a rollercoaster, ever since.”

The couple said there was little time to celebrate in the following days because of a busy week in the pubs with rugby fans queueing at the doors from 7.30am each day for the World Cup.

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Gavin and Sylvia Odolant-Smith celebrate their win (Nigel Roddis/PA)

But they made up for it with a champagne toast on the rooftop of The Trafalgar overlooking central London on Wednesday, and plan to have more celebratory drinks in one of his pubs.

Mrs Odolant-Smith said they want to “stay grounded” and they will be spending their winnings on “securing the future”, a trip to Disneyland for their nieces, and French lessons for her husband.

They will also be donating to charities including Wood Green Animal Shelter, where they adopted Phangan and Zia, a dog home in Wales called Tyr Capel Animal Sanctuary, ELHAP charity for disabled children in Woodford Bridge, north-east London, and Whitechapel Mission homeless charity.

Mrs Odolant-Smith said she decided to donate to Whitechapel Mission after seeing an advert for it on the morning of their win.

She said: “This organisation was added to the list because the morning I discovered our win, a message flashed up on the train asking Londoners to be considerate of the homeless and I took this as a sign that now more than ever, Gavin and I can be.”

Mrs Odolant-Smith added their long-term plan also involves setting up a sustainable interior design business in France, where she is originally from.

PA

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