Hull hunts for pounds 1m winner

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The Independent Online
FOR THE second time in three years, the people of Hull are checking their pockets and rummaging their houses for a Lottery ticket worth more than pounds 1m to the holder.

Time is ticking away because the Lottery operator Camelot says the mystery ticket-holder has just 11 days to claim pounds 1,234,612.

In 1996, the biggest unclaimed jackpot prize, totalling pounds 2,054,754, was handed to the five good causes after a ticket-holder from the east Yorkshire port failed to claim the prize within 180 days. An anonymous 89-year-old widow wrote to a local paper then, saying the ticket was hers, but she did not want the money.

Camelot's director of public affairs, Louise White, said: "It is incredible that Kingston upon Hull has been home to two great jackpot-winning tickets that have not been claimed. It is a great shame when people miss out on prizes, but the money is used to support worthy projects."

The ticket-holder has until 11pm on Thursday 29 July to claim the jackpot for draw 324, held on 30 January this year. The winning numbers were 7, 19, 32, 37, 40 and 44.

A shop assistant, John Stephenson, at Turnbull's newsagents in Carr Lane, said dozens of customers had been joking that the ticket was theirs. "I don't think anyone knows why the jackpot seems to go unclaimed in Hull," he said.

By the city's docks on Hessle Road, Wayne Maunder, the assistant manager at Rayner's pub, said: "We get a lot of foreign visitors from the ships, they are always in here. It could have been a Russian sailor, or another one who bought the ticket. Last week, we had a couple of Russians in the pub wanting to see the city."

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Brian Wilkinson, said: "It's not my ticket, unfortunately. But if the ticket-holder is too shy to claim the money, I would more than welcome them to fill out on the back of it, `To the Lord Mayor's Charity', and I will gladly accept the money on behalf of the city."

At present, pounds 36.8m of Lottery prizes are unclaimed, including pounds 2,017,769 from draw 363 on 16 June and pounds 2,564,693 from draw 364 on 19 June. Since the Lottery started, pounds 251m in unclaimed prizes has gone to the arts, charities, sports and millennium projects.