Lottery win lifts gloom for Corus workers

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The Independent Online

A worker at recession-hit steel giant Corus today said a "dark cloud" had lifted after he and five colleagues won more than £2.2 million on the Lottery.

Tony Dugard, 45, who works as a fire risk assessor at the firm's Scunthorpe plant in north Lincolnshire, was part of a syndicate of eight who scooped £275,000 each when their numbers came up in a National Lottery draw earlier this month.

The win comes amid a tough time for staff at the company, which has announced thousands of job losses across the UK following a slump in demand for steel products.

Mr Dugard, from Grimsby, north east Lincolnshire, said he could be among those facing redundancy but the win had "lifted the gloom" for the six staff members in the syndicate.

"A dark cloud has lifted from above our heads but unfortunately it remains above the heads of everyone at Corus," he said.

"I could be a victim of the redundancies."

He added: "It's been a gloomy year for Corus.

"It's a pretty good community that we have on-site. It would be devastating for Scunthorpe as a whole if Corus went.

"It's a local catchphrase that Corus is Scunthorpe - I don't know what would happen to the town if Corus pulled out."

Mr Dugard and his partner, Julie Clark, 44, a school secretary who was also part of the syndicate, were celebrating their win at the plant today, along with Corus workers Kevin Di-Miele, 32, and Melvyn Johnson, 64.

The group have been using the same numbers since they started playing the Lottery in 1994.

Mr Dugard said he realised they had won the jackpot a week after the draw on July 11.

He said: "Ever since the Lottery began, I've been going to the same shop every fortnight to check my numbers and pay for the following week's draws.

"I couldn't believe my eyes when I realised that our numbers matched and we'd been sitting on a £2.2 million jackpot for a week and didn't even realise it."

Mr Dugard continued: "I went a bit weak at the knees, dashed home, grabbed Julie, we hit the internet and checked the numbers."

Ms Clark, who has been with Mr Dugard for around 12 years and has two daughters, aged 18 and 15, added: "I've been in shock all week but after today I think it will begin to sink in."

The couple are planning to buy a new house, a holiday cottage in the north of France and an area of woodland for Mr Dugard.

Mr Di-Miele, who works in the emergency services department at Corus, said he was planning to buy a sports car.

None of the Corus workers have any plans to leave their jobs.

Earlier this month, Corus announced that 366 production posts were at risk at the Scunthorpe plant under plans to improve its competitiveness.

The news came on top of 500 job losses at the site as part of 2,000 cuts announced last month.

The firm, owned by Indian giant Tata, also announced plans to cut 2,500 jobs earlier this year.

The syndicate won a total of £2,203,775 using the numbers 4, 6, 10, 28, 35 and 39.