Win is ‘absolutely life-changing’, says over-the-moon ambulance worker Paddy Simpson
A paramedic who scooped over £100,000 in one of Cool FM’s biggest ever cash giveaways says he went into shock when he got the prize-winning phone call.
Paddy Simpson (46), from Strabane, picked up a record jackpot of £105,000 in the Cool FM and Downtown Radio Cash Call competition at the start of April.
The ambulance worker, who was on his lunch break at the time, says learning he had won the huge sum sent his body into shock.
He told Sunday Life: “I wouldn’t say I was delighted; the feeling was more of fear because I had to make sure I called out the right amount and I was torn between two different figures, one from a previous week and the right one.
“It was a tough call but I had nothing to lose, so I just said £105,000 and the presenter, John Kearns, kept me hanging. I knew I had got it right at that point.
“Then the shakes set in all over my body… I couldn’t even hold the phone beside my ear, and my mouth went all dry. It was an unbelievable experience.
“It’s still unbelievable. It’s something that has taken us completely by surprise as a family. I never dreamed I would be the one to win.
“Yes, you enter these competitions, but it’s a really vain hope that it would ever happen, then on that day it just became reality very quickly.
“I genuinely wasn’t expecting it. It was during my lunch break actually. I was sitting at the side of the road having something to eat and I had just heard the end of the radio announcement about the prize draw.
“I thought to myself, ‘It’s only two quid,’ so I just sent the text to enter and didn’t really think much more of it.
“I had entered before and it came to nothing, so I just forgot about it… then I received the phone call.
“It was surreal. I didn’t expect it at all. Plus, the organisation I work in, it would be good banter to catch someone out like that, so I was sceptical at first.”
Mr Simpson, who is a father-of-three and a grandfather, told Sunday Life that the £105,000 prize will be transformative for him and his family.
He said: “It’s absolutely life-changing. It’s money I never really had, so I am going to share it out where I can.
“We’re going to mark the occasion too. We’ll maybe go on a cruise or something to celebrate. I’m going to maybe upgrade the car too, but we haven’t actually made those plans yet.
“It’s an unbelievable amount of money and it’s going to make a difference to our lives and others’ as well hopefully.”
The £105k prize was the biggest cash giveaway in the history of the Cash Call competition until the record was broken a week later.
Co Antrim mum-of-two Sinead Watson scooped a cash prize of £110,000 the following week, meaning the radio station had given away £215,000 in prize money in the space of a fortnight.
When she took the call Ms Watson repeatedly screamed, “I’ve won the Cash Call!”, leaving Cool FM listeners — and her neighbours — in no doubt about what was happening.
Speaking earlier this month, Ms Watson, who “wouldn’t describe herself as a big money person” said: “Winning this money is beyond my wildest dreams. I never thought anything like this would ever happen to me.
“When you see all those zeros going into your bank account, it takes everything to another level. I’m still thinking, ‘What? Is that really mine?’
“This takes such a relief off us. Everything is so much dearer, everything is [rising] apart from everybody’s wages, but knowing I’m going to be able to get a house for my babies, maybe get a wee holiday too, it’s incredible. Thank you so much!”