The couple who won the £115m EuroMillions jackpot on New Year’s Day have said they plan to share their good fortune with at least 50 friends – but they have not told them yet. Frances and Patrick Connolly, from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, were named on Friday as the winners of the prize. The…
The couple who won the £115m EuroMillions jackpot on New Year’s Day have said they plan to share their good fortune with at least 50 friends – but they have not told them yet.
Frances and Patrick Connolly, from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, were named on Friday as the winners of the prize. The couple, who won £114,969,775.70, said their first priority was to compile a list of family and friends whom they would help.
Frances Connolly, 52, said: “This is a massive sum of money and we want it to have a huge impact on the lives of other people we know and love as well as on our future too. This win gives us the chance to really make a difference for our family and friends.
“I always hoped we would win the lottery one day, but when we did, it would be just our luck that lots of others would win on the same day with the same numbers too – never in my wildest dreams did I think we would ever win almost £115m.”
The couple said they sat in silence after they realised they had won, struggling to take it in. Patrick Connolly said: “We really didn’t know what to do or how to react and we didn’t sleep a wink that night.
“We rang Camelot at 8am in the morning to verify the win. Then it started to dawn on us that it was true even though it still hasn’t really sunk in.”
The couple, who rent a house in Moira, are regular Lotto players but only normally bought tickets for EuroMillions when there was a big jackpot. Mr Connolly bought his lucky ticket online.
He said he checked the results on his laptop later that night and then turned to his wife and said: “I think I’ve got some good news for you.” Mrs Connolly said when she saw her husband was looking at the lottery she realised they must have won something.
“I said it must be more than £2.60,” she joked. “We won £2.60 the week before.”
The couple went public with their news at the Culloden Hotel in County Down on Friday morning.
Mr Connolly is a businessman and Mrs Connolly is a teacher who has been off work for a period of time due to a leg injury.
Mr Connolly paid tribute to his “wonderful” wife and family. “This is the icing on the cake,” he said. Mrs Connolly said they had always been happy but the win would make them a “hell of a lot happier”.
She added: “I cannot see us being in the limelight for a long time. There are no skeletons, there are no dirty pictures, there is not enough to keep us in the public eye.”
One of their three daughters is in New Zealand doing a Masters degree. She will be travelling home and, during her stopover, has upgraded from a hostel to a modest hotel.