John Walsh couldn’t sleep the night his lottery numbers came up. Having checked them on Teletext at 3am on Sunday he thought it wise to make sure he was not dreaming by waking his family.
As a further precaution he drove into his office in Liverpool just to see for himself that the £46m ticket-winning ticket was still safely in his desk drawer. Thankfully it was.
But when the 57-year-old IT agency worker rang his six fellow syndicate members, all colleagues to break the astonishing news that their previous lives had been swept away in the time it took seven numbered balls to fall and earn them the biggest prize ever paid out in a British lottery, he was a little surprised at their reaction.
"I didn't quite get the response I expected because, with the economy in the state that it is in, everyone has been worried about jobs, so they all thought I was calling them to tell they had been made redundant,” he said yesterday.
The identity of the seven strong syndicate, which it was reported had included an eighth player until he pulled out before Friday’s Euromillions draw, was unveiled at the same time as a couple from South Wales with whom they are sharing the £91m jackpot.
While the Hewlett Packard staff that formed their group just four months ago while carrying out work at BT in Liverpool will reap “just” £6.5m each, unemployed mechanic Lee Scadding, 58, and his wife Samantha, 38, who runs her own PR business, were working out what to do with their £45,570,835.50.
The couple from Caerleon, near Newport, South Wales, said they had not slept since checking the numbers on Saturday but among the initial purchases they had planned were a black Range Rover Sport with ivory trim and a holiday home in Barbados. They are thought to be the seventh set of lottery millionaires to come from Gwent in the last three years.
Mr Scadding, who was treated for testicular cancer five years ago, only won the prize after deviating from his normal selection of numbers and opting for two lucky dip cards instead while shopping at his local Tesco. Still he displayed an admirable self belief telling a packed news conference in Cardiff that he always knew that fate would one day deliver for him.
"It is a funny thing with my family but for the last 12 years I have always said I'm going to win the lottery," said Mr Scadding. "My family all laughed at me. My daughter, who lives in Abu Dhabi, always asked 'Have you won the lottery?' and I would say next time."
Meanwhile in the Wirral, the newly dubbed “Magnificent Seven” - Mr Walsh, James Bennett, 28, Sean Connor, 32, Alex Parry, 19, Emma Cartwright, 23, Ceri Scullion, 35, and Donna Rhodes, 39 - were considering the changes about to happen to them form their previous lives as £20,000-a-year temps..
The youngest winner Ms Parry only left school a year ago. She was planning to put some of her winnings towards a blue Vauxhall Corsa and spend more time following the fortunes of Everton FC.
While some looked forward to the prospect of owning their own home for the first time and others planned holidays and dreamed of new cars, Ceri Scullion choked back tears admitting that there were limits to the happiness money could bring.
"My mother passed away earlier this year and she loved to do the lottery so I am convinced she had something to do with me winning. It is very sad that I can't share this with her but I know she would have been so happy for me and the family,” she said.Reuse content