A EuroMillions ticket that travelled around Ireland and waited weeks to be checked has turned out to be worth £1 Million to a group of charity workers from Derry~Londonderry.

 

The 23-strong syndicate from the Greater Shantallow Area Partnership will now pocket more than £43k each after discovering that the EuroMillions UK Millionaire Maker code on their ticket for the draw on Tuesday 31 July was a winner.

 

Ten days ago, The National Lottery started a search across County Derry~Londonderry for the unclaimed £1M prize – but syndicate manager Rory McParland was holidaying around Ireland at the time, unaware that a million-pound ticket was tucked in his wallet as he toured through Wicklow, Kilkenny, Killarney, Dingle, Tralee and Galway.

 

It wasn’t until Rory, 44, returned home that he heard the news of the unclaimed prize from his fellow syndicate members.

 

“The news of an unclaimed £1M ticket had obviously spread around Derry,” said Rory, who is well known to keep tickets in his wallet for weeks without checking. “So when I got home from holiday, the rest of the syndicate were naturally eager for me to check our tickets and see if we were the lucky winners.

 

“We’ve never won much before so hopes weren’t high when I took my tickets back to the Supervalu store where we’d bought them if the first place. As she checked the tickets, the shop assistant told me that we’d won £3 on one line, £5.20 on another and then £7.60 on another – which is our usual form.

 

“Then she stopped and said that we were going to have to call The National Lottery about one particular line as she wouldn’t be able to pay that amount over the counter. I asked what she meant and all she could tell me was that we had won ‘big money’,” he added.

 

Sharing the news with his fellow syndicate members was a moment Rory said he will never forget.

 

“So I rushed back to work and gathered as many colleagues together as I could to tell them the news,” he continued. “Then we all started checking our phones and the internet to see if we could find out how much we’d won.

 

“All of a sudden, people were saying ‘I think we’ve won a million’ and before we knew it, we were all jumping around the place, going mad, shouting and cheering. I think there were even a few tears shed.

 

“It was an incredible moment that I, and I’m sure all involved, will never forget.”

 

The syndicate of 23 is made up of existing and former staff at the Greater Shantallow Area Partnership (GSAP), a community support agency operating across the northern part of Derry City.

 

GSAP works with local residents, community and voluntary groups, statutory agencies, local schools, and private sector organisations to help improve the social, community, economic and physical regeneration of the area. The registered charity also provides a broad range of services, programmes and activities to individuals, families and communities in the area to help improve residents’ health and well-being, increase their skills and qualifications and overall improve their quality of life.

 

Its work also involves supporting others to access Lottery funding to address need in our community.

 

For years, the GSAP syndicate has been playing EuroMillions and Lotto, buying tickets for every draw and accumulating winnings to be shared at the end of the year.

 

“We’re still trying to come to terms with what has happened and take it all in,” said Rory. “It still doesn’t seem real for any of us. We’re just a group of ordinary people and I suppose none of us ever really thought we would win such a huge amount of money – but it just goes to show that you never know what’s around the corner.

 

“To think that this one win will change the lives of 23 families is amazing, whether it pays for a dream holiday, helps with the mortgage or whatever each member chooses to spend it on. Personally, I love holidaying in my touring caravan and have been wanting to buy a new car for ages – so I think that I’ll be spending some of my winnings on that,” he added.

 

Every week, EuroMillions UK Millionaire Maker guarantees to create four millionaires – two on Tuesday and two on Friday. For every EuroMillions line played, UK players automatically receive a UK Millionaire Maker code printed on their ticket.

 

Since 1994, The National Lottery has been changing the lives of winners as well as communities across the UK with players raising, on average, around £30 million for National Lottery-funded projects every week.

 

In Northern Ireland alone there has been more than £1 billion awarded in National Lottery grants to more than 20,000 individuals, organisations and projects across the arts, sports, heritage, health, education, environment, charity and voluntary sectors.

 

For more information on National Lottery funding please visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk.

 

For more information on the Greater Shantallow Area Partnership, click on www.shantallow.net.

 

Ends

 

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: For further information please contact Michael Rafferty (07768 336169) or Cathal Delea at Duffy Rafferty Communications – Camelot’s regional PR agency – on 028 9073 0880 orinfo@duffyrafferty.com.

 

Notes to Editors:

  •   Camelot UK Lotteries Limited is the licensed operator of The National Lottery® and is committed to raising money for National Lottery Good Causes designated by Parliament. Camelot is not responsible for distributing or awarding these funds.
  •   On average, Camelot generates around £30 million each week for National Lottery-funded projects. In total, £38 billion has now been raised and more than 535,000 individual grants have been made across the UK – the equivalent of around 190 lottery grants in every UK postcode district. The National Lottery has so far given away over £67 billion in prizes and created more than 5,000 millionaires or multi-millionaires since its launch in 1994.
  •   For further information on Camelot, The National Lottery and its games, please visit:www.camelotgroup.co.uk and www.national-lottery.co.uk
  •   Players of all National Lottery games must be aged 16 or over.