A retired north-east couple today told of their joy at winning a £57 million EuroMillions jackpot – and spoke of the moment the winning ticket was accidentally ripped up.
Fred and Lesley Higgins of Laurencekirk were today named as the lucky pair who banked the £57,957,367 bonanza from the July 10 draw at astonishing odds of 180 million to one – but it
almost all went wrong.
Revealing his rollercoaster week, Fred, 67, said took two EuroMillions tickets into the local shop to be checked as he bought ones for the following week.
Used to carrying around a couple of tickets in his wallet at a time, he asked the shopkeeper to run them through the machine in case of a winner.
Fred, a retired Audi administrator, said: “I handed the ticket over and the young man put it through the machine, telling me it wasn’t a winner.
“He ripped the ticket in two and threw it into the bin, as they would with all non-winning tickets.
“But this time, the terminal produced a chitty which said I needed to retain my ticket and call Camelot.
“The retailer immediately grabbed it out of the bin and handed it to me, not realising it was a winner before he discarded it.”
Lesley, 57, was asleep when her husband got home.
Fred said: “She was snoozing so I thought I would look at the website to double-check the numbers and sure enough, the first matched, then the second matched, match, match – we had them all!
“When Lesley woke, I explained we had a winning ticket and what had happened.
“I showed her the numbers, asked her to check and she misread them, thinking we were £5.7m richer rather than an amazing £57m! I felt really calm at that point – I think it was just sinking in – so I then called Camelot and explained what had happened.”
Lesley quit her job as an account manager at the Montrose Port Authority on Tuesday.
The couple have just bought a brand new Audi Cabriolet and are looking at buying another car soon.
Married for 35 years, Fred said: “We had a really comfortable life before the win but we did have dreams of living abroad.
“We love Gozo (in Malta), which is where my niece lives, so we always thought we would get somewhere out there.
“But I have to say since we won, I’ve got my eye on somewhere in France and Lesley seems to be looking at property in Barbados.”