New Year’s Day Lottery Winners Revealed
Frances and Patrick Connolly from County Down won the lottery jackpot in the New Year’s Day draw. The lottery winners explain they will be sharing the winnings with their family and friends.
When Frances and Patrick Connolly realized they had won a £115mEuroMillions jackpot, they sat in silence and stared at each other for 10 minutes. They then made a cup of tea.
The £114,969,775.70 prize makes the Connollys the fourth-biggest UK lottery winners in history. The win puts them in Northern Ireland’s rich list. They currently rent a terraced house in the village of Moira.
So began a new life for the couple from County Down in Northern Ireland on New Year’s Day. This is after scooping one of the biggest UK lotteries wins in history.
They went public with the news on Friday at a press conference outside Belfast. The Connollys announced they would share the prize with 50 friends and relatives.
“This is a massive sum of money and we want it to have a huge impact on the lives of other people we know and love, as well as on our future,” said Frances Connolly, 52, a teacher. “This win gives us the chance to really make a difference for our family and friends.”
“We couldn’t believe it!”
Patrick Connolly, 54, a businessman, said his wife “nagged” him into buying a ticket. He did buy a ticket online on 1 January, choosing the lucky dip option that selects random numbers. He did so without much expectation since the couple had never won more than £10.
Before going to bed, he checked the result and found they had the winning numbers. The numbers were 01, 08, 11, 25, 28, with lucky stars 04 and 06. He rechecked four times – “I was sure it was a scam” – before telling his wife: “I think I’ve got some good news for you.”
She did not believe him when he said they had hit the jackpot. “A couple of expletives later, which I’m trying not to say in front of you, I said: ‘It must be a joke.’ He said: ‘I wouldn’t joke about that.’ Then we just stared at each other for 10 minutes.”
They have been together for 30 years and have three daughters, one aged 30 and twins aged 24, and three grandchildren. One of their three daughters is in New Zealand doing a master’s degree. She is traveling home and, during her stopover, has upgraded from a hostel to a modest hotel after the win.
Frances Connolly said the couple had always been happy, but the win would make them a “hell of a lot happier”. She expected the limelight cast on them by their good fortune to fade. “There are no skeletons, there are no dirty pictures, there is not enough to keep us in the public eye,” she said.