£32.5 million Lottery Winners waited a week to cash in winning ticket

Lottery winners

A couple from Peterborough picked up the second biggest prize in National Lottery history, and revealed the bizarre reason why they waited a week before collecting their life-changing winnings of £32,534,188.

Lisa Cannings, a 48-year-old Spanish teacher, and her husband Gerry (63), called the National Lottery on Valentine's Day - the day after the draw - to confirm the win. However, when they tried to set up a time to go in and have the win verified, they decided to wait a week.

Apparently they had a decorator in and they didn't want to upset their plans. Lisa told the press conference "We'd been planning it for ages and had packed everything into boxes".

Gerry said he spent a nerve-wracking week walking around with the winning ticket in his pocket, and hoping nothing went awry. Trying to keep the win a secret for a week convinced the couple to go public with the win, because they'd never be able to keep it quiet anyway.

The pair had only bought the ticket by chance, when visiting Lisa's father near Slough. Gerry had popped out to the local fish and chip shop, when they saw a poster advertising the rollover. On a whim he picked up five Lucky Dip tickets.

He didn't get round to checking them that night because he couldn't find the numbers on Teletext. It wasn't until they went online the following morning that they discovered the huge win.

Lisa said she now plans to take early retirement to spend more time with her husband. Despite just having had it decorated, they are also planning to move into a bigger house, buy a car big enough for Gerry's golf clubs, and take a First Class trip to New Zealand. They say they will help their children and grandchildren too.

Unusual reasons for waiting

They are not the only winners to have had an unusual reason for delaying picking up the enormous cheque. In 2013 couple from the Isle of Wight were on a road trip to Scotland when they discovered they had won £115,000. They decided to finish the trip before collecting the money, and every night slept with the ticket under their pillow.

Later that year a couple from Ipswich discovered they had won £6 million when they were busy sailing round Britain. It took two days for them to get back to port.

Others have put off collecting their winnings because they have things they want to do first. George Traykov, a housekeeping manager from Ilford, won £1 million in 2011, and decided to go skydiving with the winning ticket in his pocket before collecting the cash.

But perhaps the biggest delay was at the end of last year, when a 67-year-old collected £25 million that he had won on the Canadian Lottery almost two years earlier. The family had waited because all winners have to go public, and they were trying to find a legal loophole that would enable them to pick up the money without having their photo and story printed in the press.

Their lawyer tried to claim it for them - and put the money in trust - but in the end they had to bite the bullet and hold the giant cheque for the cameras.

North East is luckiest in Lotto
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£32.5 million Lottery Winners waited a week to cash in winning ticket

The map was commissioned to mark Tuesday night's EuroMillions roll-over which is now a staggering £138 million - the fifth biggest jackpot ever offered in the UK.

Should anyone scoop the jackpot, their wealth will be slightly less than Europe's biggest Lottery winners Colin and Chris Weir, from Largs in Ayrshire. The husband and wife made the headlines in July when they won £161,653,000, thanks to several rollovers.

Boasting 164 National Lottery millionaires, one in 14,211 North East residents has now banked a seven-figure jackpot prize. Winners Paul and Christine Goldie from Washington, near Sunderland, pocketed £3,581,481 after their numbers came up on Christmas Day last year.

The Millionaire Map, which includes both publicity and non-publicity winners, is based on the number of millionaires created per adult population. One man who did go public with his winnings was Wayne Hughes from Holyhead on Anglesey, north Wales. The shop worker scooped £1,117,779 last August and even had the winning numbers tattooed on his arm.

The region with the fewest millionaire jackpot winners was Northern Ireland, where only 53 seven-figure or more winners were created.

Wales has seen 179 millionaires - one person in 14,502 - created over the last 16 years. Rugby fans Terry Roberts, Mike Williams, Lance Gifford and Gerwyn Jones, from the Rhondda Valley in south Wales, split £4,091,609 in April this year.


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