65-year-old woman wins £13m jackpot

Money collector pledges to 'help the community'

Updated: 
Mary Hamilton

A money collector who scooped nearly £13 million in the EuroMillions lottery has said she wants to help disadvantaged young people.

Mary Hamilton, from Northern Ireland, had the unchecked ticket for a week before it was confirmed she had hit the jackpot.

She said: "I just keep thinking of all the people that I know and love that I can help."

For the last 35 years, Mrs Hamilton, 65, and her husband, Sandy, from Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, have worked as a money collectors for a furniture company and said she hoped to reward those who have kept them in a job.

"I work all over Belfast and those people are all so lovely - all of them," she added. "I just want to do something for our community in Northern Ireland, for both sides of the community.

"There are a lot of young people out there whose youth centres are being closed down because of the cutbacks. I know this will put a lot of them back out on to the streets.

"I would prefer they were in youth centres rather than standing about street corners so I might look into something like that."

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Although Mrs Hamilton played the lottery every week, she never dreamed of winning such a huge sum. For 10 years she picked the same numbers but more recently switched to Lucky Dips.

She said: "I had the ticket a week and I didn't know. It was in my bag. I didn't think I would ever win money like this. I always hoped I'd win a few hundred or maybe a few thousand but that was it."

Even though her first purchases have been relatively modest - new mobile phones and a holiday - she intends to boost the Northern Ireland economy through spending.

Mrs Hamilton, who celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary earlier this year, has now resigned from her job and also plans to move house.

"I want to make life as comfortable as I can for ourselves and our family and friends," she said.

"I'd like to help both sides of the community and also do my bit to help the local economy which has had it tough lately."

Mrs Hamilton is one of more than 3,700 millionaires created by the National Lottery, which celebrates its 20th anniversary tomorrow.

Northern Ireland's largest lottery winners include housewife Iris Jeffrey, who won £20 million in 2004, and unemployed Margaret Loughrey, who won £27 million on the EuroMillions last year.

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