Northern Ireland news

EuroMillions winner Margaret Loughrey funded new Strabane support centre

EuroMillions winner, Margaret Loughrey donated the cost of building the New Horizons' headquarters.
Seamus McKinney

A new state-of-the-art centre for people with learning disabilities which will open in Strabane today was paid for entirely by lottery winner Margaret Loughrey, it has been revealed.

A plaque in memory of the Strabane woman, who was found dead at her home at Ballycolman Lane in September, will be unveiled at the official opening of the New Horizons Centre.

In 2013, the 56-year-old scooped almost £27 million in the EuroMillions jackpot.

But her good fortune also brought her great difficulties. In subsequent years, she was detained for a short period under mental health legislation and also convicted, on another occasion, of assaulting a taxi driver in a drink-fuelled incident.

However, later today the new headquarters for the New Horizons Partnership Ltd which was built through a donation by Ms Loughrey will be opened at Orchard Road Industrial Estate.

New Horizons is an adult learning disability service, serving the north west.

The centre includes a garden centre and provides support for 44 people ranging in age from 19 to retirement, as well as six people in Co Donegal.

As preparations for the official opening continued yesterday manager, Anne Ramsey revealed that Ms Loughrey also gifted the organisation a car.

Ms Ramsey said today would be a “wonderful occasion” but was tinged with sadness as their benefactor, who had asked to remain anonymous, was not present to help them celebrate.

Ms Ramsey told The Irish News the EuroMillions winner was “very modest and private” about the donation.

“Margaret’s PA contacted us and asked us to meet her. When we did, she told us she saw the good work we were doing and the differences the centre was making to people’s lives. She told us there was a car at McGillion’s (car sales) waiting for us.

“She said ‘I’m going to make a donation as well but I want to make sure people don’t know about it; I don’t want people knowing my business’,” Ms Ramsey said.

It had been anticipated the centre would be completed earlier. However, the onset of the coronavirus delayed completion.

“She was 100 per cent responsible for this new centre; it is sad that Covid meant we were not able to complete this earlier and that Margaret didn’t live to see what she had done,” Ms Ramsey said.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news