Chef wins £1.5m on Lottery

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The Independent Online

A chef who scooped a Lottery jackpot win of £1.5 million has worked his last shift cooking the food for his own celebration.

Neil Baker, from Bridgwater in Somerset, did not realise he had won the jackpot until the day after the draw when his mother suggested checking his weekly lines.

"I couldn't really believe it, it was like - you're having a laugh aren't you?" Mr Baker said.

"All the things that you could think were running through my head and the heart was racing and talking gibberish, really - it was quite funny."

The 36-year-old took home £1,581,582 from the draw on January 29.

He resigned from his job as head chef at the Tudor Hotel in Bridgewater.

Speaking at the hotel today, Mr Baker said: "I told him (his boss) I had a considerable amount of winnings on the lottery and I'm going to have to give you a week's notice and with that he said 'I'd better have a whisky'."

Mr Baker said the Tudor Hotel is a family-run business that had always been good to him and so he wanted to work out his notice.

"My last shift was on Sunday evening and we had a little do next door with friends and family, and I was doing the food for them," he said.

"I actually brought the food out with my other chef and after putting it around I said 'That's it for now'. I was then retired.

"Retired by 37 is not a bad thing, is it?

"It's been a real odd week, it's not every day you win £1.5 million on the lottery."

Mr Baker used to work 50 to 70 hours a week but is now planning a break from working life to enjoy his new-found fortune.

But he says he will not be splashing the cash on a new car or house.

"I don't think this money will change me," he said.

"I'm not planning to move, as our house is more than just bricks and mortar, it's a home with sentimental value and has always been our family home.

"I won't change my car as I'm happy with the one I've got, so for the moment this money will give me freedom and also security.

"I'll definitely stay in the area, as my friends and family are all here."

The keen bugle player bought his winning ticket from Morrisons in Bridgwater.

Mr Baker said he is planning a trip to Belgium to visit the grave of his great-grandfather, who was killed in the First World War.

"My father passed away a few years ago, so I'll take the bugle he handed down to me and play the Last Post," he said.

"It's something mum has always wanted to do, but I've never got around to taking time off work until now.

"But that's something for the future. It's not going to be an immediate thing."