When 52-year-old Frances Connolly and her 54-year-old husband Patrick realised they had actually won the EuroMillions £115m jackpot on Tuesday the 1st of January 2019, they sat and stared at each other in silence for at least ten minutes then finally made a cup of tea.
The couple who are from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, have just begun a new life after scooping one of the biggest lottery wins in history on a very happy New Year’s Day.
They then went public at a press conference near Belfast where they announced that they would share the prize money with fifty relatives and friends.
“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 who is a teacher.
“This win gives us the chance to really make a difference for our family and friends.”
Patrick Connolly, who is a businessman, said his wife ‘nagged’ him into buying a ticket, which he did online on the 1st of January, and chose the lucky dip QuickPick option that selects random numbers. He did so without a lot expectation as the couple had never won more than £10 previously.
Just before going to bed, he checked the results and realised they had the winning numbers which were: 01, 08, 11, 25, 28, with lucky stars 04 and 06. He double-checked at least four times.
“I was sure it was a scam” he thought before telling his wife “I think I’ve got some good news for you.”
She just thought they had won a small win. “I said it must be more than £2.60. We won £2.60 the week before” said Frances.
She really didn’t believe him when he told her they’d actually won the EuroMillions 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 didn’t sleep at all that night and eventually telephoned the lottery operator Camelot at 8 am the next morning to verify the win. “Then it started to dawn on us that it was true even though it still hasn’t really sunk in,” said Patrick.
They won a huge £114,969,775 jackpot prize which makes the Connollys the fourth biggest UK lottery winners in history and puts them on Northern Ireland’s rich list.
They have three daughters, one who is aged thirty and the twins who are twenty-four, and also have three grandchildren and have been together for thirty years. One of the three daughters is in New Zealand and she’s doing a master’s degree. She is heading home and upgraded from a cheap hostel to a hotel after the lottery win.
Frances said that both she and Patrick had always been very happy anyway but the win would make them “a hell of a lot happier”. She thought the limelight put upon them by the win would soon fade. “There are no skeletons, there are no dirty pictures, there is not enough to keep us in the public eye,” she said.
She told people that she would cry herself to sleep in frustration sometimes by not being able to help everyone. She did have one beneficiary planned which was St Francis FC, a community football club in Hartlepool where they both lived for twenty-five years. She was off work as a teacher because of a leg injury but has no plans to buy a mansion. “I want a bungalow because I can’t walk up the stairs,” she added. Someone asked her about hiring a bodyguard, she joked “I’ve never met anybody I couldn’t take down myself, to be fair.”
We love it when nice generous people win a lottery jackpot and Frances and Patrick Connolly fall into that category and absolutely deserve their win. The first thing on their minds was how they could share their newfound wealth before even considering themselves. Sometimes luck is earned by caring people. Being a lovely generous couple made lady luck smile on them and changed their lives for all time.
Being that the Connolly’s EuroMillions jackpot draw was won in the UK, all UK lottery prizes are awarded tax-free, no matter how much you win or which game you play. Lottery winnings are not actually treated as income by HM Revenue & Customs, (which is the UK government dept responsible for taxation). If you win £2.50 or £125 million, you will be paid the full amount tax free.
Have fun playing your favourite numbers and good luck.
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