A Newry man has been revealed as Northern Ireland’s latest National Lottery millionaire after scooping a massive £1,796,081 jackpot that he so very nearly missed out on.
Last week was just like any other for farm shop owner Simon Savage until he saw media reports of a huge unclaimed Lotto prize in the Newry and Mourne area from a Lotto draw which took place a couple of weeks earlier on Saturday 29th November.
This prompted him to look for some tickets that he had lying around the house and what happened next is the stuff that dreams are made of as Simon is now almost £1.8 million richer and all set for a Christmas he will never forget!
“I read that The National Lottery were trying to locate a winner of over £1.7m from the Newry and Mourne area”, said Simon, who has never won anything major before. “I remembered that I played the Lotto at the end of November so decided to have a look for some tickets I had laying around the house, never imagining for a second I’d have the winning one.
“I had tickets in a couple of different places and the first batch I looked at had no winners but when I looked under a cheque I planned to lodge in the bank later that day, I found two more tickets,” he continued.
“When I checked those, to my utter amazement one of them had the winning numbers but I still couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing so I got my brother to check it again.
“I just pushed the ticket towards him and asked him to check the numbers. I was shaking so he asked me to sit down and after checking the numbers and dates all corresponded he told me the amazing news.
“I think we were both in shock and didn’t know what to do. In the end, he just shook my hand and congratulated me,” he added.
Simon’s winning numbers were 6, 11, 18, 19, 38 and 42 and his winning ticket was a Lucky Dip purchased at Sainsbury’s in Newry.
Despite becoming a millionaire the big-hearted farm shop owner is keeping his shop opened on Christmas Eve so that people in the local community can pick up their Turkeys.
“I’ve had the shop now for 8 years and have built up a loyal customer base that I would never let down, no matter what. Customers who’ve found out about my win have been shocked but amused to see me working.”
Simon has suffered with impaired hearing since his 20s so he intends spending some of his new-found fortune on finding a way to improve his hearing, he also plans to go on holiday and to ensure that he has a cracking Christmas.
A National Lottery spokesperson said: “We’re delighted that we have been able to unite Simon with his winnings, especially just before Christmas. It would have been awful if the winner of this amazing prize had missed out on this substantial and life-changing amount of money.”
The huge number of millionaires created in 2014 means that The National Lottery has now created more than 3,700 millionaires since it began in 1994, and that figure is set to rise over the festive period. On Christmas Eve, in addition to the usual Lotto draw, there will be 500 raffle prizes of a guaranteed £20,000 up for grabs. Then, two days later on Boxing Day, there will be a special EuroMillions Mega Friday draw in which there will be 10 guaranteed UK winners of £1 million, who will also win a five-star luxury trip to see the Northern Lights. Mega Fridays take place on the last Friday of every month and create multiple UK millionaires who also win an exciting experience of a lifetime.
As well as creating a wealth of winners, The National Lottery has helped communities across the UK with more than 22,000 National Lottery grants having been awarded to help projects across the arts, sports, heritage, health, education, environment, charity and voluntary sectors.
A National Lottery spokesperson said: “This has been another extraordinary year for our players with so many new millionaires and multi-millionaires created. It’s also been a great year for National Lottery funded projects, many thousands of which have received life-changing grants. The Christmas Eve Lotto draw and Boxing Day’s EuroMillions Mega Friday draw will round off this year – the 20th of The National Lottery – with even more millionaires. Players may want to get their tickets early so they can have the chance to celebrate a truly amazing festive period.”