January 19, 2019

EuroMillions couple celebrated £115m win with cup of tea and hug

06 January 2019, 12:50 | Austin Hogan

Belfast's £20 million Lottery winner Iris Jeffrey and her two daughters Karen and Wendy

Belfast's £20 million Lottery winner Iris Jeffrey and her two daughters Karen and Wendy

The National Lottery said Frances and Patrick Connolly have become the fourth biggest winners in United Kingdom history by winning the entire £114,969,775.70 jackpot.

We're in the money: Frances and Patrick Connolly announced their lottery win at the Culloden Estate and Spa in Belfast yesterday.

A couple who won a £115 million New Year's Day EuroMillions prize have been revealed as Frances and Patrick Connolly, from County Armagh, Northern Ireland.

Mr Connolly is a businessman and Mrs Connolly is a teacher, who has been off work for a period of time due to a leg injury.

The New Year's Day win follows a series of high-profile lottery prizes in recent years.

"I was the driving the bus around Belfast on Sunday after I won on the Saturday, and on the Wednesday I was in St Lucia", Mr Lavery said.

The couple, who have three daughters and three grandchildren-, said that they were not big spenders and had lived a simple life, largely devoid of luxuries, before the jackpot win, although they were now thinking about going on vacation to Mauritius.

Mr Connolly paid tribute to his "wonderful" wife and family. "That will be really tough", she said.

He rechecked four times - "I was sure it was a scam" - before telling his wife: "I think I've got some good news for you". "Then it started to dawn on us that it was true even though it still hasn't really sunk in".

"I remember serving him coffee and maybe some of our tray bakes, you serve a lot of people in here but once you see a face, you don't forget it".

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Frances and Patrick Connolly from Moira.

Mrs Connolly has worked previously as an educational programme coordinator and is planning to do a PHD in clinical psychology.

She has said she intends to donate some of the couple's £115 million lottery windfall to charitable causes and singled out the social affairs magazine for mention.

The couple said they celebrated their good fortune with a hug and a cup of tea.

"At the minute there are about 50 people [on the list.] It's going to be so much fun giving it away", she said.

A huge mansion is not on the cards though, Ms Connolly explained.

Her husband said the win felt "unreal" and they had checked several websites to verify it.

"There's no way I'm joining the jet set".

At one point, Mrs Connolly joked with the assembled media pack that she only wanted images that showed her with "one chin".

"We honestly thought we would never win anything like this".

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