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Lottery winners to pop decades-old champagne after waiting years for win

Brian Courtney had been holding onto the bottle of bubbly since the 1990s in anticipation of a big win.

Two lottery winners will be able to open a decades-old bottle of champagne they saved for a lottery win after scooping £500,000 on the Thunderball.

Weston-Super-Mare couple Brian Courtney, 65, and wife Julie, 62, won half a million pounds on January 30 earlier this year, allowing them both to retire early.

And while the odds were stacked against them, Mr Courtney’s unshakeable belief that he would win big stretched back to the 1990s and a bottle of champagne.

National Lottery Winners Brian and Julie Courtney of Weston Super Mare, Somerset, UK celebrate their £500,000 win
(Martin Bennett/The National Lottery)

“We used to take part in a French exchange and in the early nineties we had a family to stay who brought us a very nice bottle of pink champagne to say thank you,” said Mr Courtney.

“When they gave it to us we said then and there that we’d keep it and drink when we won the lottery.

“I think they thought we were mad but I was sure that we’d be cracking it open one day to celebrate a big win!”

Mr Courtney, a factory worker, and Mrs Courtney, a hotel worker made redundant last year, were able to put work behind them as a result.

The pair, who are due to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary in 2021, will instead travel the world.

“Julie and I have worked all our lives and I think we’re both ready for retirement,” said Mr Courtney.

“However, to be able to retire knowing we don’t have to worry about money, is just the icing on the cake.

“We plan to use the money to make sure our daughters and grandchildren are well taken care of and once that’s done, we might see about booking ourselves onto a cruise.

“We’ve been lucky enough to do a few cruises in the past but Julie has always fancied the ones that travel around Asia.

“We’ve never been able to take that length of time off work before, but now we can and we’re really looking forward to getting something booked as soon as restrictions allow.”

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