THE nation was waiting with envy today to discover the identity of the winner of the first pounds 6.9m National Lottery jackpot.
The winning numbers - 3, 5, 14, 22, 30, 44 and bonus number 10 - were drawn live on BBC 1 in front of what was perhaps Britain's biggest TV audience, estimated at up to 30 million people.
When sales finished at 7.30pm yesterday 25 million people had bought more than 49 million tickets, creating a total prize pool of some pounds 22m. But the lottery operator Camelot will not know who bought the winning ticket until they come forward.
If the winners agree to publicity, their names will be announced later this week - after they have had emotional and financial counselling.
All six numbers were needed to win the jackpot with prizes between pounds 100,000 to pounds 10 available for people who had three numbers or more.
Although it will have precise information about which retail outlets sold the winning lottery tickets, Camelot is not planning any publicity to avoid an avalanche of media attention.
But it was feared last night that with such intense press interest in the lottery, launched on Monday, it would be difficult for winners to avoid being identified.
The secret is almost certain to leak out today unless they keep the news from friends, family and neighbours and hold extremely discreet celebrations.
Camelot advises people who have won to telephone the National Lottery Line on 0645 100000 - before they tell their family. If they have lost their ticket they cannot claim the prize. If someone else finds a winning ticket, they will be given the money.
Winners of large prizes will be asked to go on Monday to one of the 10 regional lottery centres in Britain to confirm their success. Camelot has said the time it will take to pay the winners their prize money will depend when they come forward.Reuse content