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Winner of ‘punching above weight’ competition hits scratchcard jackpot

The £1 million won by Darren Donaghey and his wife Kate will transform the lives of their two children who have autism.

Darren and Kate Donaghey from Newcastle, celebrate their £1 million National Lottery Scratchcard win (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Darren and Kate Donaghey from Newcastle, celebrate their £1 million National Lottery Scratchcard win (Owen Humphreys/PA)

A man who won a “Punching above your Weight” competition by marrying his stunning bride has won £1 million on a scratchcard.

Darren Donaghey, 33, and wife Kate, 28, will spend the money on a larger house for their two children who have autism.

The devoted dad bought the £5 scratchcard on Tuesday by chance when he was in a local shop buying a pint of milk and it was only one of a handful of times in his life he has bought one.

The couple created headlines four years ago when they won a honeymoon in a radio competition for people where one partner is punching above their weight.

The Donagheys have a girl aged three and a boy of six, both of whom are “non-verbal”, they said.

The scratchcard win will transform the whole family as they will be able to move out of their two-bedroom house in the Walker area of Newcastle to a bigger property with a room each for their children.

They also plan to have a sensory room in their new home with bubble lamps to be a quiet area for the children.

The amount of money is life-changing for the couple and their autistic children (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Kate said she initially did not believe her husband when he came storming into the house saying he had won £1 million – particularly as her brother had previously pranked her about winning the lottery.

But soon they were crying once the win was confirmed and they realised what a difference it will make.

Darren is considering giving up his job as a call centre supervisor to be able to spend more time with his family and help Kate, a stay-at-home-mother, with the children.

The couple will support autism charities with their winnings (Owen Humphreys/PA)

They also intend to support autism charities which have helped them with their children.

Darren said: “We are currently in a two bedroom house and desperately need more room for the children – now all of our dreams have come true with this win.

“We can move to a new home, which is bigger and with more bedrooms and even create a sensory room for our daughter and son.”

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph