Paul McDonald, 48, had promised his youngest daughter he would decorate their family home in Bexhill, East Sussex, with tinsel and lights. He spent his Sunday afternoon doing it on December 12, and had just finished when he checked his emails and saw one congratulating him on his win. He assumed it was a Lucky Dip or £30, but then he logged into his account and saw the whopping Lotto prize amount - £1,063,516.
Paul added: “I’d like to pretend I leapt about celebrating but instead I logged out, shut down the computer, made myself a cup of tea and watched the football for five minutes. I think it was my way of dealing with the surprise but a slurp of tea and a bit of football kick-started me again. I then logged back into the account about 30 times, each time expecting it to disappear but always seeing the same winning amount.”
Paul, who hopes his big win will bring joy to his family and friends far beyond the festive season, added: “This win will mean we can enjoy little sparkles every now and then. Whether it’s a luxury ski-holiday to Aspen, Christmas trips to Lapland, meals out with family and friends or weekends away just for us, breaking out from daily life and making memories is going to be utterly life-changing.
“It’s crazy, one minute you’re battling with extension leads and focused on putting up the Christmas lights, hoping to make it to the second half of the local Christmas panto to see your youngest’s performance, the next you’re a millionaire! I’ve worked all my life, I’m proud to be a grafter from a family of grafters, so to suddenly discover on a Sunday evening that I’ve won more money than most people earn in a lifetime is taking some time for the analytical side of my brain to absorb. The other part of my brain, the dreamer and adventurous side, is all over the win!”
Have you read? Police continue search for missing woman Leah Ware
After discovering his big win, he took a screengrab of the £1,063,516 prize amount and dashed off to catch the second half of the panto. Arriving late, he had to quietly take his seat next to his partner. He then showed her the screengrab. In the gloomy light, she misread it as £1,063, so smiled and whispered back: “Great, we can get the bathroom done.” She then calmly went back to watching the performance.
When the family returned home that night, they could finally sit down to discuss the win but are still some way from making any firm decisions about what to do with the money.
Paul said: “I work in distribution so it’s been a whirlwind of a year involving lots of travel and project management, and with Christmas a very busy time in my industry, there’s barely been a spare second to plan for Christmas let alone plan for becoming a National Lottery millionaire!
“My logical side of the brain is firmly engaged so there won’t be any rash decisions, if we do this well we could make a difference not just to our lives but future generations too. I don’t intend to give up work however the mortgage will be paid off so it will be nice to know that every pay cheque is mine, not to be shared with the mortgage lender.”
Paul bought his winning Lotto ticket online, via the National Lottery website, in the Must Be Won draw. He was one of two winners to win the whopping prize. The winning Lotto numbers for the draw on December 11 were 6, 13, 14, 15, 31, 33 and the Bonus Ball 38.