EuroMillions couple who scooped £115MILLION jackpot will make 50 friends and family rich – and they have no idea

EUROMILLIONS couple who scooped the £115m jackpot today revealed they will make 50 friends and family members rich – and they have no idea.

Frances and Patrick Connolly, from County Armagh, Northern Ireland celebrated the lucky dip win with a cup of tea, after first thinking it was a scam.

They bagged a total of £114,969,775.70 – making them the fourth biggest UK lottery winners in history.

The generous pair – a retired teacher and businessman – said one of the first things they did was to sit down and write a list of 50 people they want to share the money with.

Frances, who was knitting when she found out the life-changing news, said most of lucky recipients don't know they are going to get a portion of the huge sum.

The 52-year-old said: "We don't really do excited – perhaps I raised my voice just a bit at the time when I found out – but we celebrated with a cup of tea and a hug."

Aside from helping out friends and family Patrick plans to splash out and swap his current Laguna for an Alfa Romeo, and buy a house.

He also wants to retire from his work in manufacturing, shower his wife with gifts, buy a Jaguar and take a trip to the Maldives.

The couple revealed they will also share some of the money with their three daughters and granddaughters.

They have three grandchildren, two boys and a girl, a 30-year-old daughter and two twins aged 24.

Frances said: "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 £115 million."

She added: "We want to disappear and go on holiday. We need some space and time to give people answers.

"I'm going to enjoy every minute of it."

Frances' eldest child Katrina, 30, is Patrick’s stepdaughter. She was brought up by him and hailed him as “an amazing dad”. The couple also have twins Natalie and Fiona, 24.

Natalie is flying home from a gap year in New Zealand to celebrate. Fiona lives near her eldest sister in Hartlepool.

Katrina, who lives in the family’s former home with her husband and two boys, 11 and eight, said: “It is insane. It has not sunk in.

“I honestly thought Mum was joking at first. I had to ask her a few times.

“It only really hit me this morning when I saw the photo of them with the cheque. Mum is always so generous to everyone.

“If she finds out anybody needs something or is in trouble she’ll always help them.

“And it was really nice to see my dad looking happy because he’s worked so hard his whole life.

“I’m sure that they’ll share their money but I’m not bothered about any personally.

“I know they’ll see my kids right so they’ll have an easier future.

“They saw Grandma on the telly, she’s famous. I’ve told the boys they’ve won some money. It’s just so much it’s hard to comprehend.” Joyce Mulryan, 62, lived next to the Connollys in Hartlepool for more than 20 years.

She said: “They’re always a happy couple. Frances is very loud, very outgoing. She would take a tramp into her house to give them a cup of tea.

“Paddy is more laid-back but still full of fun. I don’t think they could even spend the interest for that amount of money.”

Some winnings have already been pledged for Hartlepool St Francis football club, where Frances once worked. Club secretary Trevor Robinson said: “I’m overwhelmed. It feels like we have won the lottery too.

“I knew of them and that she volunteered but I’ve never met the lady. I’ve got the chairman with me now and we’re like rabbits in headlights.

“My kids were jumping around like they’d won the lottery.”

Neighbours living in Moira, population 4,500, are also hoping for a windfall.

One said: “The couple keep themselves to themselves but wave hello. I’m so happy for them. It’s lovely they’re giving money away.

“I doubt they’ll be living round here much longer.”

As they struggled to take in the news they told a few pals about their amazing win.

Frances revealed: "Our friends were driving and it's lucky they didn't not crash the car – they went mental!"

She added the pair have always been happy but the win would make them a "hell of a lot happier", adding that they would travel and help people in the community.

But she said said: "I am going to cry myself to sleep that I cannot help everyone, that will be really tough."

Although Patrick is keen to retire, he predicted he would not be able to sit around long before he had to get back to doing something.

He said his expertise was in manufacturing and he hoped to create more jobs using part of their fortune.

The couple, who rent a house in Moira, are regular Lotto players but only normally buy tickets for EuroMillions when there is a big jackpot.

Patrick checked the results on his laptop, turned to his wife and said: "I think I've got some good news for you."Frances joked: "I said it must be more than £2.60. We won £2.60 the week before."

Patrick added: "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."

They plan to help others with the huge sum – when asked if they will donate to charities, Frances added: "No chance I'm keeping all that money."

She 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."

The couple currently rent their home in Northern Ireland and say they will use the money to move back to England and buy a house.

Asked whether she would have to increase her personal security, Mrs Connolly joked: "I've never met anybody I couldn't take down myself, to be fair."

Noting her leg injury, she indicated a huge mansion was not on the cards.

"I want a bungalow because I can't walk up the stairs," she said. "There's no way I'm joining the jet set."

She said they decided to go public with their win as "it was never going to be a secret".

Frances added: "Because there's too many people we're going to give money to straight away.

"It feels like a really emotional time. It's kind of strange sharing with all the strangers. But I'm glad we did."

In the New Year's Day draw 10 other players took home £1 million in prize money each.

The winning main EuroMillions numbers were 01, 08, 11, 25, 28 and the winning EuroMillions Lucky Star numbers were 04 and 06.

The New Year's Day win follows a series of high-profile lottery prizes in recent years.

In July 2011, Colin and Chris Weir, from Ayrshire, Scotland, became the biggest lottery winners in the UK, and across Europe, when they scooped more than £161 million.

Adrian and Gillian Bayford, from Suffolk, took home more than £148 million in August 2012.

And last November, builder Andrew Clark, 51, from Boston, Lincolnshire, discovered he had won £76 million, six weeks after the draw.

He said he stockpiled tickets in his van, only checking them every three months.



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Recalling the evening he found the ticket, he said: "I finally gave in, got the bundle out of the van and started to work my way through them, methodically from the oldest to the most recent, starting with Lotto, before moving on to my EuroMillions tickets.

"You might say I was slightly winding up Louise but I certainly didn't expect the wind up to end with me saying 'I've done it, I've won £76m' – I won't say what she said in response!"

The biggest win for 2018 was £121million which was handed to an anonymous winner in April.


Paradise island of Keraamithaa in the Maldives, £7.9m.

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sports, £2.4m for two. Or gold-plated, £10m.

Henry Graves Jr Supercomplication watch by Patek Philippe, £18.8m.

Same maker’s Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002G, left, £1.2m.

The Winston Blue diamond, left, £18.6m.

Porsche 918 Spyder, £1.1m. Numarine 32XP yacht, £7.9m.

Bombardier Global Express private jet, £29m for two.

Knightsbridge home, £10.9m.

Bledisloe House, Gloucs, £9.2m.

Goût de Diamants champagne, £1.2m bottle.

Banksy’s Love Is In The Bin shredded artwork, £1m.

Year’s stay at Hotel De Paris, Monte Carlo, £9.8m.

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