Two former stock car racing friends are celebrating a bang-up result after their spur of the moment purchase netted them a cool £1m on the lottery.
Pals Ian Wilton, 63, and Steve Leighfield, 57, have had a flutter on Saturday’s big draw together every week since the National Lottery was launched way back in 1994.
After winning £25 on the previous Saturday’s Lotto draw, Ian – a welder from Tring – suggested to Steve that they try their luck on the EuroMillions draw, a game they only play as and when they have some winnings.
Ian acted on the decision immediately and bought five Lucky Dip lines, but it wasn’t until the following Tuesday that the lucky pair found they had scooped £1m on the EuroMillions Raffle.
A gobsmacked Ian checked the numbers later that evening and immediately called his friend. He said: “I could hardly speak, to the point that Tina, Steve’s wife, asked me what was wrong – I was just trying to get the words out.
“Then when I went into work the next day I got the boss to double check the numbers for me before I called the Lottery.
“When I told my son-in-law he thought I was pulling his leg.
“So did the rest of the family, but it’s begun to sink in now.”
Ian and Steve have been neighbours for a long time but became firm friends when they were both stock car racing years ago, so it’s no surprise that Ian has set his eyes on a new Range Rover.
He said: “I’m planning to retire in 18 months so this win will be a lovely nest egg to make that retirement so much more enjoyable.
“But, if I were to buy one thing before then, it would be a brand new white Range Rover.”
Steve – who owns S & T Autos in Berkhamsted, said: “It was quarter to eleven at night when Ian called with the news and you always expect the worst when there’s a phone call that late, so it took a while for the fact that we’d won to really register.
“We kept checking and rechecking the numbers.”
Steve said the most they had ever won before was £1,600 and they always used their winnings to buy more lines or play a different game – and this time it paid off.
He said: “You plan and plan what you would do with the money if you win – whether it’s EuroMillions or Lotto – but now that I have won, I’ve found I want to think very carefully about it.
“I might invest in some properties to rent out rather than splash out on holidays and cars for now.
“Having said that, one of my daughter’s celebrating her 40th birthday in Las Vegas next year so my wife Tina and I have already decided we’re going to join her.”
The EuroMillions ticket which bore the winning Millionaire Raffle selection – CXW781222 – was bought from WH Smith in Berkhamsted High Street.