Viva Las Vegas for hospital caterers who scooped £25.47m EuroMillions jackpot

Six hospital caterers who have scooped a EuroMillions jackpot of more than £25 million will jet off to Las Vegas together on a dream holiday in the new year after quitting their jobs.

Five of the six colleagues, nicknamed The Catering Girls, have been playing as a work syndicate for the past six years.

The sixth - who retired last year - went with her teammates when they handed in their notices at Neath Port Talbot Hospital in South Wales on Tuesday.

Sian Jones, 54, of Baglan, who was a catering supervisor for 14 years, said quitting "felt wonderful".

"We have dreamed about finishing, we have talked about when we were able to finish, and obviously we all had to work, there was nothing," she said.

"We have talked about it and talked about it and now we can finally do it - we are still young enough to enjoy what we have got."

EuroMillions winners Julie Saunders, Doreen Thompson, Julie Amphlett, Jean Cairns, Louise Ward and Sian Jones celebrate during a photocall at Hensol Castle
From left, Julie Saunders, Doreen Thompson, Julie Amphlett, Jean Cairns, Louise Ward and Sian Jones celebrate during a photocall at Hensol Castle (Ben Birchall/PA)

Her fellow winners, syndicate leader Julie Saunders, 56, Louise Ward, 37, Doreen Thompson, 56, Jean Cairns, 73, and Julie Amphlett, 50, all agreed their employer had taken the news well.

Mrs Cairns, from Briton Ferry, who retired from the hospital last year after 38 years as a catering supervisor, said she dreamed of playing on Las Vegas slot machines and that they would all go together after Christmas.

Mrs Saunders added: "It has always been our dream, we have always said when we win we are going to Vegas, and now we can do it and we can enjoy it, and we're going to. Viva Las Vegas!"

The group won a staggering £25,476,778.30 in total from the draw on November 3 - scooping more than £4.2 million each.

EuroMillions winners Julie Saunders, Doreen Thompson, Julie Amphlett, Jean Cairns, Louise Ward and Sian Jones celebrate during a photocall at Hensol Castle
The group are heading to Las Vegas (Ben Birchall/PA)

Mrs Saunders asked her husband Alwyn to pick up the ticket, as all the members were at work.

The following day, the couple were visiting her father in a residential home and he told her one ticket had won the jackpot.

Mrs Saunders, who lives in Port Talbot, replied: "It could be us as we haven't checked yet," - unaware the winning ticket was in her living room cabinet.

After returning home, she checked the numbers and called Camelot before informing the other members of the syndicate.

Celebrating their win on Wednesday at Hensol Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan, the syndicate members told the media that top of their modest wish lists were shoes and handbags, and for Ms Ward a new, gold tumble dryer.

"My tumble dryer broke so I have been renting one because I am saving for my wedding next year, so it could wait until after Christmas, but it has got to be gold (now), it can't be white," she said.

"I'll spray it; it won't be proper gold."

EuroMillions winners Julie Saunders, Doreen Thompson, Julie Amphlett, Jean Cairns, Louise Ward and Sian Jones celebrate during a photocall at Hensol Castle
The six will split the jackpot (Ben Birchall/PA)

Ms Ward, who only joined the syndicate in October last year, had been thinking of stopping in order to save money for her wedding, and is now looking forward to marrying fiance Mark in front of as many friends and family as she wants.

Ms Ward said: "It is just exciting. I could only have 80 (guests) on the day, I was trying to cut it down as much as I could but now, the room I think holds double that.

"I still want it in the same place but I can fill the place, I can do what I want. I haven't got to scrimp and scrape."

Asked whether there were any exotic locations, aside from Las Vegas, they wanted to visit, the women said no.

Mrs Thompson, who lives in Ystalyfera with her family, said: "I've got a caravan down in LLandovery, I'll be going down there."

Mrs Amphlett, a catering assistant for 32 years, lives in Neath with her husband Christopher.

The mother of one plans to buy "absolutely everything" - from a new house to handbags and shoes - with her winnings.

The syndicate began playing together after chatting one Sunday morning when they were feeling lucky.

Both Mrs Saunders and Mrs Cairns believed they would win big one day and potentially become millionaires.

The group play every Friday and bought their winning ticket from One Stop in Sandfields, Port Talbot.

Their winning numbers were 5, 12, 17, 33, 41 and their lucky stars were 4 and 9.

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