Couple take jackpot in weekend winning streak

A lucky couple today said their £12.4 million EuroMillions jackpot was the highlight of a weekend winning streak.

Scooping the top prize in Friday's draw was not the only success for Nigel and Sharon Mather.

Mrs Mather, 39, also won £10 on Saturday's National Lottery draw and £20 from a scratchcard, while her husband landed a £25 Premium Bonds award.

Mr Mather, 44, said he also came close previously to winning £9 million on the National Lottery when he claimed £2,400 for matching five numbers.

"I thought that was my big chance but you never know," he said.

The couple, from Sale, Greater Manchester, were on holiday at a caravan park in Minehead, Somerset, with sons Rhys, four, and Lewis, one, when they bought the Lucky Dip ticket at Alcombe Newsagents in the town.

They had Mrs Mather's father, John Morris, 64, to thank for being in the right place at the right time as he treated the family to the week's break.

"We were delighted when my dad offered to pay for us to have a week away with the children," Mrs Mather said. "Unfortunately, he hasn't been well recently and we had to cut the holiday short to come back and see him in hospital.

"He is now recovering well and we were thrilled to be able to tell him that thanks to his generosity, he has given us an amazing gift.

"We will be making sure we return the favour as our lucky win was all thanks to him."

The family learned of the jackpot when they returned from holiday and checked the results on television.

Mrs Mather said: "I was in shock. I had to check the numbers about 20 times."

Her husband was shopping in Tesco in Sale when he received the "happy" phone call.

"I thought there was something wrong, She told me to get back home quick," said Mr Mather.

The Manchester City fans received their cheque in a ceremony at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Cardiff-born Mrs Mather said she would be giving up her part-time job as an information service officer for Trafford Council, while her husband said he planned to take a year off work to take stock of their windfall.

A hotel manager at Menzies Pinewood Hotel in Manchester, he has had to work every Christmas Day for the last 25 years.

A holiday in the sun in Dubai or Barbados for the festive period beckons this year as well as a trip to Italy, the couple said.

Mr Mather said: "When my wife was 30 I promised to take her to Venice but she could not go because she had to have an operation on her back. So I think I will treat her to that."

His wife replied: "I'll hold you to that, " and her husband quipped: "I haven't told you yet, it's coming from your share!"

Other luxury purchases lined up include an Audi Q7 car for Mr Mather and a Peugeot 207 for his wife but they said they would be keeping their feet on the ground.

Mr Mather said: "We are hoping to change the lives of our family. We want to make them secure."

The couple made the headlines in their local newspaper about 15 years ago when they helped rescue an elderly lady from a house fire.

Asked if their success was a form of karma, Mrs Mather said: "I believe we were chosen to win. We are a loving family who will use the money wisely to help our friends out."

Among those who will benefit from their success is Francis House Children's Hospice in Didsbury who cared for Mr Mather's niece, Shadia, who died three years ago aged 18 from bone cancer.

"The way they treated her was outstanding," said Mr Mather. "We always said that if one day we had the chance to pay something back we would do that."

The couple want to build a music studio in her honour for the teenager who loved to sing.

Friday's EuroMillions winning numbers were 2, 22, 24, 36, 44 and lucky stars 1 and 2.