Leigh Hancox, 39, is not a regular lottery player but decided to take part online in the special draw on Friday 1st March, in which 40 millionaires were guaranteed. He didn’t land one of the £1 million prizes but did match five main numbers and one Lucky Star to pocket £226,436.
Recalling his decision to buy a ticket, Leigh said that he was just looking for a way to pass the time on the train as he set off on his trip to Romania, and saw an advert in the newspaper. He said: “In all the time the lottery has been going I’ve probably played no more than 30 times but when I saw the ad, I thought I’d play if only to have something to do while on the train.”
Life Begins At 40
Leigh received an email notification saying he had won while he was in Bucharest, but could not log on to see how much he had won until he got back to the UK. “I really didn’t think much of the win and after a fabulous weekend I headed home with the usual post-holiday and Sunday afternoon slump, that is until I remembered to check my National Lottery account and saw I’d won £226,436.50.”
Leigh is delighted that he will now be able to look forward to a bright future, having had to work hard and cut back on a few luxuries in recent years. He was made redundant at the end of last year but quickly managed to secure a new job as a resource scheduler for the BBC and his big win could not have come at a better time.
“In some ways it feels like I’ve been given 10 years of fun back because I now have the security I always wanted and I can ease off a little on the sensible. I turn 40 this year, they say life begins at 40. I already had a five-star holiday booked to Australia and New Zealand to celebrate – booked and paid for through some savvy air miles and points gathering – now I can think about a few extras to really make this a year to remember.”
Leigh’s story shows the benefits of playing online because he could log in and play on the train at the time when it was convenient for him. He was informed of his big win without even having to check the results for himself, and he did not have to worry about keeping a paper ticket safe until he was ready to come forward.
If you play through a retailer, there is a danger that you will forget to check the winning numbers or your ticket could be lost. The player who bought their ticket in Cheshire back in September missed out on a £1 million prize at the end of last week after failing to come forward before the 180-day deadline. Another ticket holder, from Derby, has just a few more days to come forward otherwise their prize will also expire and remain unclaimed.
Taking part online, you can play from anywhere and put yourself in contention to win big prizes. The jackpot has rolled over six times since a family syndicate from Co Dublin won €175 million (£152 million) on Tuesday 19th February to become Ireland’s biggest ever winners. It is now back up to £70 million ahead of Friday night’s draw.