Lottery winners' joy at big wins
Stuart Powell was working the night-shift repairing the roads when he telephoned Denise, just before she went to bed.
"Stuart was on the phone to me, and he said 'have you checked the lottery numbers," recalls Denise.
"I never checked them, because I don't normally buy tickets, I do mine online, but he still buys tickets," she recalls.
After checking the numbers on the laptop computer, she told her husband they had not won, when suddenly she became breathless and lost for words.
Slightly confused, Stuart asked Denise what was wrong – and she broke the news to her husband that he was now a millionaire.
"He had won the £1 million raffle, Stuart couldn't believe it, I had to photograph the ticket and send it to him," she says.
And after that, Stuart went back to work and finished his shift.
Incredibly, it was the couple's second big November win on the lottery. Almost exactly four years earlier, Denise had won £55,464.
"We must be due another win now," jokes Denise, who is now 48.
Equally incredible was that they would not have won were it now for an error by the checkout assistant at Lichfield Co-op. Stuart had intended to buy tickets for the £119 million rollover the previous Saturday, but the shop worker got the dates wrong and processed them for the following midweek draw instead.
Yet despite their good fortune, the couple haven't allowed their new-found wealth to go to their heads. They still live in the same house in Featherstone, Stuart still does the same job working as a driver for Spray Tank Services, and still drives the same BMW 325 he bought 12 years ago.
"I carried on working as a shift manager at Dairy Crest for a couple of years, but then I got made redundant," she says.
The couple did splash out on homes and cars for their three sons Matthew, 30, Adam, 29, and Nathan, 24.
"Our main priority was for the boys, putting them on the housing ladder, it's hard for young people to buy their own homes these days," says Denise.
"We did say that if we ever won the lottery we would get cars, so we bought cars for all of them."
Denise also treated herself to a new car, first having a BMW 120 and later changing it for her present Land Rover Evoque.
And Stuart, 53, got a new nail gun.
“I have a small nail gun that I use for work around the house and it is not fit for purpose," he says.
"For every birthday and Christmas for as long as I can remember I have dropped hints about upgrading it and getting a new one. But I’ve never got one. And it became a bit of a joke. So the day after we won our son Matthew sent me a text saying he had finally sorted me a new nail gun.”
Denise said the couple never felt the urge to go on a cash splurge.
"We always worked for everything we had," she says.
"We stayed in the same house because it was four bedrooms, we were already able to live comfortably.
"I've never been one for shopping, when I do go shopping I know exactly what I want to get, and go straight in and out."
But were the couple never tempted to buy a big gated house with a swimming pool?
"We actually built a pool in the back garden when the kids were growing up, but we filled that in when they grew up, it's not really our thing," she says.
Denise says what the money did do, was to give them security and freedom from financial worry.
"Stuart was poorly with Crohn's disease, and it enabled him to take 10 months off work, which was nice," she says.
"Also, it meant there weren't any money worries when I was made redundant."
Ludlow's Robin Kiddie was also at work when he discovered he and wife Christine had scooped £6.3 million win in 2013.
He scanned the numbers on Teletext the night before, but was too tired to check them properly against his ticket.
“I thought I may have up to four numbers on one line, but as it was late, I went to bed and decided to check in the morning," he said at the time.
“I arrived at work after 8am and decided to go online and check the lottery numbers to see whether we had won and how much it might be.
“As soon as the numbers came up on screen, I realised we had all six on one line.
“I couldn’t believe it and thought it was a mistake. I checked and checked in disbelief. I asked one of my colleagues to come and check for me. I can remember I was shaking and couldn’t take it in.
“I knew I had to call Camelot, but it was only 8.30am and the phone line wasn’t open until 9am.
“I tried to call Christine but as we have no phone upstairs, she didn’t hear it.”
Mr Kiddie, who worked at Cradley Heath-based Kingfisher Industrial, had just been paid when he bought the ticket in Kidderminster.
The Palethorpes meat plant in Market Drayton has proved to be something of a lucky workplace, with a workers’ syndicate scooping £6.3 million in 2006, followed by another £303,456 in 2016.
A syndicate of seven people, who all live in Bridgnorth, shared £1 million after their numbers came up in 2014. But they nearly missed out on their prize after almost forgetting to check their numbers. It was only when lottery bosses put out an appeal for the winners to come forward that syndicate leader Lita Powney spotted the winning numbers.
After confirming the win with Camelot, mother-of-four Lita telephoned the rest of the syndicate, but had a hard time convincing them it was true.
The seven-strong group, made up of Lita, Jenny Jones, Angela Orpe, Josie Bromley, Joyce Hopkins and Janice Head, have been playing the lottery since it started but Lita said they had only previously won very small amounts.
One of the region's biggest winners were Tom and Rita Naylor, who were living in Wolverhampton when they won £15.5 million in 2001. The couple moved to a luxury barn conversion between Wheaton Aston and Newport on the Shropshire-Staffordshire border, and former lorry driver Tom splashed out on seven cars, including three Jaguars, a Rolls-Royce and an Aston Martin DB9.
Brenda Portch, now 80, from Kingswinford, near Dudley, won a near £1.5 million share of the jackpot in October, 2006.
Dawn and Malcolm Bosworth were on holiday in Egypt when they received an email telling them to check their online lottery account for news of a win.
“Malcolm and I were lying on the beach and he said jokingly – we could be millionaires and we don’t even know it," recalls Dawn.
But because they were out of the country, the couple were unable to check their lottery account, and only discovered the details of their win when they returned from their holiday nearly a fortnight later.
"I bought the tickets online," says Dawn, who is 63. "I bought three week's worth for £30, we normally buy £10 a week.
"I wasn't sure whether to buy them because we were going on holiday, but Malcolm said 'put it on'."
The draw was on June 24, 2015, but they couple did not return home until the early hours of July 7. They went straight to bed, and the following morning, while Dawn was unpacking her suitcase and doing the washing, she finally got round to checking the email.
"I didn't read the noughts right, and I thought I had won £5,000," she says.
"I thought that would pay for another holiday. My daughter was there, and I asked her to check it, and she said 'you haven't won £5,000, you have won £5.87 million, and because I was screaming, the neighbours next door asked my daughter what was wrong."