The £1m lottery prizes about to be lost forever

Lottery win

Have you won £1 million and forgotten all about it? It doesn't seem possible, but somehow 13 people in the UK are going about their everyday lives, not suspecting for a second that there's £1 million sitting at the National Lottery waiting for them to claim it. One of those unsuspecting people is about to lose the cash forever.

See also: The lottery winners who beat the odds - twice

See also: The luckiest lottery numbers in the world

The £1 million winner in question won the cash back on 17th January this year. It was the UK Millionaire Maker prize in the EuroMillions draw. Any winner only has 180 days in which to make a claim - at which point it is given away to good causes. It means that the last date they will be able to make a claim is 16th July. The winner bought their ticket in the North Kesteven district, but sill hasn't come forward.

Big losers

It's not the only big prize set to expire this month. There's a prize of over £61,000 which was won on 24th January, and has yet to be claimed. That was another EuroMillions winner, who bought their ticket in the London Borough of Southwark, and matched five balls and one star (1, 5, 7, 17, 23 and lucky stars 3 and 8).

There's also another EuroMillions millionaire who won on the UK Millionaire maker on 21st January. That winner, from Barnsley, has until 30th July to claim their million - which comes complete with a luxury fortnight trip to Thailand, Bali or the Maldives - flying business class and staying in a five star hotel.

There are then two prizes of £1 million expiring in August, two in September, one in October, four in November and one in December.

How can this happen?

It's hard to imagine being able to afford to overlook a £1 million win, but clearly it's easier than it seems. In many cases people miss the win because it's not the main draw. They check the main winning numbers, but forget to check the raffle.

In other cases, the ticket is accidentally binned, or left in a pocket or bag somewhere. Given that the prizes that are about to expire were won in the depths of winter, there's a risk the winning tickets are in winter coats hanging at the back of wardrobes, so it might be worth going through the pockets just in case. It's also worth checking any piles of paperwork or receipts - or down the back of the sofa - for any neglected tickets, and visiting the National Lottery website to see if any of the unclaimed prizes ring a bell.

Sadly, there's every chance that some of these winners will never come forward. It happened just last month, when an unclaimed £1 million went to good causes. And it has happened with some jaw-dropping sums. The most dramatic was back in 2012, when a EuroMillions winner failed to claim their £64 million prize.

Biggest UK lottery winners
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Biggest UK lottery winners

Colin and Chris Weir, from Largs in Ayrshire scooped 161 million in the EuroMillions draw after several rollovers in 2011. They are the biggest British lottery winners in history.

Adrian Bayford, who won an astonishing £148m on the Euromillions with his wife Gillian, had to shut up the music shop he owns, because people targeted it with requests for money.
One British ticket won  £113,019,926 in October 2010 but decided not to go public.
Car mechanic and racing driver Neil Trotter scooped a staggering £107.9 million jackpot on the Euromillions lottery in March 2014.
Dave and Angela Dawes won £101 million on the EuroMillions in 2011. It was only the third time the couple, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, had played the lottery. The couple are said to have since split up.
The sum was won in May 2010 but the winner kept their identity a secret.
One lucky British ticket-holder picked up a £81million EuroMillions rollover but remained anonymous.

Nigel Page and Justine Laycock from Cirencester bagged a £56 million jackpot back in February 2011. On winning the jackpot, Page said: 'I'd already checked my National Lottery account and had seen I'd won £55 on Lotto when I decided to buy two Lucky Dips for the big EuroMillions jackpot on Friday.'

One lucky winner won shy of 50 million but chose to remain anonymous.

Les and Sam Scadding from Newport, South Wales, and a syndicate of seven Liverpudlian call-centre workers shared a staggering £91 million in November 2009. Les, an unemployed mechanic, was £68 overdrawn on the day he bought his ticket, while the Liverpool syndicate only started playing EuroMillions together four months before their win.

Carrington, 22, from Stapleford in Nottingham, banked £45 million after matching all five numbers and two Lucky Stars in a EuroMillions draw in February 2012. The Iceland supervisor said she planned to marry painter fiancee Matt Topham, 22, following the Lucky Dip win.

Husband and wife Gareth and Catherine Bull have fairly modest spending plans despite their £40.6 million jackpot win in January. Speaking about what she planned to do now that she was rich, Catherine explained that she intended to use part of their winnings to replace the carpet on her upstairs landing...

Angela Kelly became one of the biggest lottery winners in UK history back in 2007, after scooping a £35 million EuroMillions jackpot. This is estimated to earn £5,000 a day in interest alone, meaning she's unlikely to ever be short of cash.

In June 2009, 74-year-old Brian Caswell got the surprise of his life when he took his lottery ticket to his local newsagent and discovered he'd won almost £25 million.

Belfast housewife Iris Jeffrey, 58, was the lucky holder of the record 20.1 million rollover lottery winning ticket back in 2004.

Jeffrey, 58, a cancer sufferer, only realised three weeks after the draw took place that she had won the  jackpot after organisers Camelot pleaded for the person holding the prize ticket to come forward and claim the prize.

Stephen Smith and his wife Ida from Hemel Hempstead, Herts, won nearly 19 million in the National Lottery. Mr Smith said he would give up his winnings if he could have his health and the chance to live a longer life with his wife.

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