Pub lottery syndicate pulls a double

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The Independent Online
A pub syndicate was yesterday toasting a mistake that netted them pounds 10.8m in the weekend's double roll-over lottery draw. The four men beat odds of 196 million to one to hit the jackpot twice after syndicate leader Kevin Papworth accidentally wrote down the same winning line twice.

But it was only the following day when, after celebrating what they thought was a pounds 5m win, Camelot told them they had in fact won double that amount. Mr Papworth, a 36-year-old electrician, said: "Once I saw the jackpot line on one of our tickets I didn't bother checking the rest. It wasn't until the following day that our lucky mistake was discovered."

When Camelot phoned on Sunday Mr Papworth said he thought it was to say that it had all been a mistake and they hadn't won anything. "We thought we had won one and a bit million each. Then we thought we had lost it - but then he said we had won it twice. Winning pounds 1.3 million is enough, but doubling it is, well, a silly number. I was in a state of shock. It did not register until today how much we had won."

He and Steven Cook, a 29-year-old manager of a double-glazing firm, celebrated their win with a few drinks at the Royal Oak pub, near Dartford, Kent, where fellow winner Tony Young, 53, is the publican. But the fourth member of the syndicate, Doug Hedges, a 33-year-old bachelor, was staying at a friend's house and was not aware of his win. "I did not get to hear about it until Sunday afternoon," he said yesterday.

The men, all from Dartford, began their syndicate after they started a Saturday club at Mr Young's previous pub. Their win represents a two- fifth share of the pounds 27.1m jackpot that built up after the previous two draws produced no winner. But, as they celebrated receiving their cheque yesterday by swigging lager instead of the customary champagne, they insisted the win would not change them. "We are working men really, just drinkers," said Tony. None of the men had decided what to do with their unexpected windfall although Mr Hedges, who currently does not have a car, said he might now be able to afford a new MG.