Northern Ireland news

Northern Ireland is no stranger to life-changing lottery wins

Colin and Eithna Bell from Newry won £1m in 2017

NORTHERN Ireland is no stranger to life-changing lottery wins.

From bus drivers to charity workers, the north has seen its fair share of lucky tickets in recent years.

One of the most high profile winners was Peter Lavery, who scooped more than £10 million.

 Lottery winner Peter Lavery

Following his win, the former Belfast bus driver described how one day he was driving around his home city to within days, he was lying on a beach in St Lucia.

In 2004, north Belfast woman Iris Jeffrey scooped £20.1m and became the biggest ever winner of the UK's National Lottery at that time.

North Belfast woman Iris Jeffrey scooped £20.1 million in 2004

Ms Jeffrey, who was battling cancer when she became a millionaire, had bought her ticket in July of that year, but only realised she had hit the jackpot the following month after hearing an appeal by lottery organisers Camelot.

Ms Jeffrey, who had two grown-up daughters, was due to become a grandmother the following week.

In December 2013, an unemployed woman from Strabane, Co Tyrone, won almost £27m in the EuroMillions lottery.

Margaret Loughrey said that on the day she bought the lucky ticket, she had been to the job market to get an application form for a job with a charity.

Euromillions winner Margaret Loughrey. Picture by Hugh Russell

Other winners have included Belfast woman Mary Hamilton, who secured a EuroMillions jackpot of £12.9m in November 2014, while Belfast garage owner, Joe Clarke also took home more than £10m in 2013.

The north-west has also seen a number of lottery winners, with IT worker Ryan Magee from Derry scooping £6.4m on Euromillions in February 2008 and Seamus Duffy, also from the city, who won £4.5m in August 2009. William McConnell from Coleraine also picked up £3.8m in August 1995.

In 2017, Newry couple Eithne and Colin Bell, who founded the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust in memory of their son, who was killed in New York, celebrated a £1 million win.

 Catherine and Ciaran Kidd from Draperstown celebrate their lottery win.

Also in 2017, Derry couple Catherine and Ciaran Kidd from Draperstown scooped £1m on the EuroMillions UK Millionaire Maker – two years after winning £20,000.

Northern Ireland is home to more than 100 lottery millionaires.

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