Record number of millionaires created by National Lottery

A record-breaking number of millionaires were created by the National Lottery this year, figures revealed today.

A total of 158 people joined the exclusive millionaires' club over the past 12 months, an increase of 26 on 2009.

The lottery paid out £775 million in jackpot prizes alone this year, up £285 million on 2009 and the highest amount ever paid out in one year.

A National Lottery spokesman said: "This has been an extraordinary year for our players with so many new millionaires and multi-millionaires created.

"There have been some huge prizes paid out during the last 12 months, and we've also been told that many of our big winners have created additional millionaires themselves as a result of their win, which is fantastic news."

In October, the National Lottery hit the landmark of creating more than 2,500 millionaires since its launch 16 years ago.

A series of lottery records have also been smashed in what has been regarded as an unprecedented year.

In February, Nigel and Justine Page, from Gloucestershire, scooped the £56 million jackpot prize on EuroMillions.

The win was then followed by two even bigger payouts, one of £84 million in May and then £113 million in October. Both ticket-holders opted to remain anonymous.

Other big winners included George Sturt and his family, from Dorking, Surrey, who collected £26 million between them, and a £39.7 million ticket-holder who remained anonymous.

August saw the highest number of millionaires created when 19 people joined the wealthy club, while October saw the highest amount of prize money paid out, totalling more than £167 million.

A further 25 millionaires were created on Christmas Eve when the National Lottery held a one-off Millionaire Raffle draw.

So far, 15 out of the 25 ticket-holders have come forward to claim their £1 million prize money, a spokesman said.

Only 89 major prizes became classed as unclaimed in 2010, meaning that they remained unclaimed two weeks after the draw.

But 54 prizes were subsequently reunited with the winner within the 180 day deadline, the largest of which was a £5.6 million jackpot in the Port Talbot area of South Wales.

Of the remaining prizes, 15 went over the 180 day deadline and were added to the £25 billion raised for good causes by the National Lottery, while 20 remain still available to claim.