A Derry-based inventor has had her very own ‘Eureka’ moment after becoming Northern Ireland’s latest National Lottery millionaire.
Not only has Anne Canavan scooped a life-changing £1 MILLION in the EuroMillions ‘Mega Friday Draw’, she will also sail away with an exclusive luxury ‘Private Island Getaway’ for herself and her four children on the tropical paradise of Song Saa Island in Cambodia.
There will be no need for an appearance on Dragon’s Den for entrepreneur Anne who intends to use some of her winnings to fund her latest invention, the Snotblot - a wristband that stores tissues within handy reach to stop runny noses becoming a messy issue for kids and adults.
The inventor, who is based in Derry and Donegal, admits that a million pounds is definitely a prize not to be sniffed at.
“I suppose you could call it a lightbulb moment,” said Anne, who purchased her ticket in Sainsburys on the Strand Road.
“I had taken a friend who had broken her leg and was suffering from cabin fever to Sainsburys for some shopping and whilst there, I purchased a ticket for the Tuesday night EuroMillions draw. Then before we left, I checked my pocket and I had two pounds in change so at the last minute, I bought myself a ticket for the Friday night draw also. And that turned out to be the winning ticket!
“Normally, when I buy a ticket for the EuroMillions draw, I’ll check the numbers at some stage during the following week. There’s never any rush - but on this particular Friday night I suddenly had a feeling and an urge to check them at around 1.30am. I opened the draw results on the internet and I just knew straight away that I was a winner, without even looking at my ticket.
“Sure enough, when I checked my ticket, I realised that I had won a million pounds in the Millionaires raffle – not to mention a luxury holiday as well. It was the strangest thing!
“I always thought to myself that if I won a big amount on the Lottery, I would keep it to myself for the first 24 hours just to relish the occasion. However, instead I ran straight upstairs to my daughter Lauren and woke her up to tell her the news. Although I was never in any doubt that I had won, it was still nice to have her verify it for me, even though she didn’t believe me at first.”
Now Anne is contemplating what to do with her winnings.
“I think I’m still in shock and it hasn’t quite sunk in that I’m now a millionaire,” added Anne. “I certainly won’t be squandering my winnings in any way. There are a few people I’d like to help out but aside from that, I’ll be investing it sensibly, setting some aside for my business and making sure that myself and my family are financially secure for years to come.
“It’s really amazing to now have the money to pursue my dream of taking some of my inventions to market. I’m having to pinch myself every few minutes to remind myself that it’s all really happening.”
Anne has no fewer than 12 inventions that she would love to take to market but has never had the funds to progress until now. Plans are already underway to open an office in the Northern Ireland Science Park in Belfast, but Derry will remain the hub of her budding business empire.
“I’ve always wanted to be an inventor,” said Anne, “and was always trying to come up with the next big idea - in fact I was probably trying too hard in the early stages. Then I had kids and the ideas started to come thick and fast.
“I’m keeping them all under wraps for the moment but the most advanced product I have to date is the Snotblot, mainly because it was the most affordable for me to develop to an advanced stage, given that I’ve had to plough all my own money into my inventions so far.
“I had an opportunity to trial the Snotblot in a goodie bag for Derry City Council last year, which was a real success, and since then the Council has been really supportive of my efforts. I really cannot thank them enough for their support and it is for this reason that, now I have the finances to take my ideas to the next level, I plan to make sure that the business will be headquartered in Derry City.
“You certainly won’t see me running around splashing the cash in a flamboyant manner but this win has given me a truly amazing opportunity to change my life, and the lives of my children, by helping me to develop my ideas and my business, and to make all of those dreams I’ve had for so many years a reality,” concluded Anne.
Island in the sun
As well as walking away with a cheque for a cool £1M, Anne will also enjoy a luxurious trip to the dazzling natural retreat of Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia.