A syndicate from Derry, made up of charity workers, have scooped £1million on the Euromillions.
The 23 members of the syndicated, from the Greater Shantallow Area Partnership, will pocket more than £43,000 each after discovering that the Euromillions UK Millionaire Maker Code on their ticket for the draw on July 31 was a winner.
The National Lottery began searching for the winners of the unclaimed prize ten days ago, unbeknownst to syndicate manager Rory McParland.
He was on holiday for three weeks with the winning ticket tucked in his wallet as he toured through Wicklow, Killarney, Kilkenny, Dingle, Tralee and Galway.
Rory heard about the unclaimed ticket when he returned home.
“The news of the unclaimed £1M ticket had obviously spread around Derry. So when I got home from holiday the rest o fthe syndicate were naturally eager for me to check our tickets and see if we were the lucky winners.
“We’ve never won much before so hopes weren’t high when I took mytickets back to the Supervalu store where we’d bought them in the first place. As she checked the tickets the shops assistant told me we’d won £3 on one line, £5.20 on another and then £7.60 on another - which is our usual form. “Then she stopped and said that we were going to have to call The National Lottery about one particular line as she wouldn’t be able to pay that amount over the counter. I asked what she meant and all she could tell me was that we had won ‘big money’.”
Rory said that sharing the news with the other syndicate members is a moment he will never forget.
Initially, he said the others didn’t believe him as he is a ‘bit of a joker around the office’.
“We all started checking out phones and the interent to see if we could find out how much we had won,” Rory said.
“All of a sudden, people were saying ‘I think we’ve won a million’ and before we knew it we were all jumping around the place, going mad and shouting and cheering. I think there were even a few cheers shed.”
The GSAP syndicate has been playing Euromillions and Lotto for years and the members, made up of existing and former staff, will continue to play in the future.
Rory said the group are still trying to come to terms with their win.
“It still doesn’t seem real for any of us. We’re just a group of ordinary people and I suppose none of us ever really thought we would win such a huge amount of money - but it just goes to show you never know what’s around the corner.”
He said the win will change the lives of 23 families and described it as ‘amazing’.