Retired couple scoop life-changing £57.9m EuroMillions jackpot and set sights on Barbados holiday home – after shop worker accidentally tore up their winning ticket
- Fred and Lesley Higgins’ winning ticket was ripped in half by staff at a local shop
- Worker realised mistake and handed the numbers back to a jubilant Mr Higgins
- Couple, of Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, matched seven numbers to win £57m
- The pair, who have been married for 35 years, also have dreams of living abroad
A retired couple have their eyes set on a Barbados holiday home after scooping a ‘life-changing’ £57.9million EuroMillions jackpot, despite a shop worker accidentally tearing up their winning ticket.
Fred and Lesley Higgins’ slip was ripped in half and chucked in the bin at their local shop when staff mistook it for another set of losing numbers.
A regular Tuesday and Friday player, Mr Higgins, 67, carried a couple of tickets in his wallet at a time, and asked the retailer to run them through the machine in case of a winner.
They were given the torn ticket back, went home and checked the numbers to find they did indeed match and they were the winners of the July 10 jackpot.
But even then, they misread the size of the jackpot and thought they were only £5.7 million richer.
The retired couple, from Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, were told that because the ticket had been torn, processing the claim would need to be investigated.
A security team spoke to them about what had happened and checked CCTV footage, before confirming their enormous win.
Fred and Lesley Higgins’ slip was ripped in half and chucked in the bin at their local shop when staff mistook it for another set of losing numbers
A regular Tuesday and Friday player, Mr Higgins, 67, carried a couple of tickets in his wallet at a time, and asked the retailer to run them through the machine in case of a winner
The retired couple, from Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, were told that because the ticket had been torn, processing the claim would need to be investigated
The couple scooped the jackpot even though their winning ticket was mistakenly torn in two
Mr Higgins said: ‘I handed the ticket over and the young man put it through the machine, telling me it wasn’t a winner.
‘He ripped the ticket in two and threw it into the bin, as they would with all non-winning tickets.
‘But this time, the terminal produced a chitty which said I needed to retain my ticket and call Camelot.
- ‘It was self-defence’: Father of double-glazing firm boss,… Strife of Brian: How making of Pythons’ 1979 classic was…
Share this article
‘The retailer immediately grabbed it out of the bin and handed it to me, not realising it was a winner before he discarded it.’
He went on: ‘The ticket had been torn in two but all the numbers were still clear so I took it back home to make the call.
‘Lesley was snoozing so I thought I would look at the website to double-check the numbers and sure enough, the first matched, then the second matched, match, match – we had them all!
‘When Lesley woke, I explained we had a winning ticket and what had happened.
Lesley (pictured) handed in her notice from her role as account manager at the Montrose Port Authority on Tuesday following the massive jackpot win
Regular Lotto players Fred Higgins, 67, and his wife Lesley, 57, won the life-changing sum early last month but took more than a fortnight to share details of their win
‘I showed her the numbers, asked her to check and she misread them, thinking we were £5.7 million richer rather than an amazing £57 million.
‘I felt really calm at that point – I think it was just sinking in – so I then called Camelot and explained what had happened.’
Mr Higgins went on: ‘I wasn’t ever concerned that we wouldn’t get the money as I knew it was a honest mistake – it just had to be looked at to make sure everything was correct.’
The pair matched the winning numbers of 3, 33, 26, 8, 45, as well as the Lucky Star numbers 7 and 10.
The retired Audi administrator and his wife Lesley, who handed in her notice from her role as account manager at the Montrose Port Authority on Tuesday, chose a brand new Audi Cabriolet as their first purchase.
The couple, who have been married for 35 years, also have dreams of living abroad.
‘We had a really comfortable life before the win but we did have dreams of living abroad,’ Mr Higgins said.
The pair, from Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, matched the winning numbers of 3, 33, 26, 8, 45, as well as the Lucky Star numbers 7 and 10
The win is ranked at number 14 in the list of the biggest lottery prizes to be won in the UK, and is the latest in a string of Lotto winners from Scotland
‘We love Gozo, which is where my niece lives, so we always thought we would get somewhere out there.
‘But I have to say since we won, I’ve got my eye on somewhere in France and Lesley seems to be looking at property in Barbados.
‘I think it might be fun to explore a few places before we commit to buying anything.’
Mr Higgins, who collects Malt Whisky and has around 40 unopened bottles, went on: ‘It is our wedding anniversary on 20 August and my birthday a couple of days later, so I think a celebration is in order before we decide what comes next.’
The couple bought and checked their winning ticket at Scotmid, High Street, Laurencekirk.
A Camelot spokesman said a range of security checks had to take place because the ticket was ripped in two.
‘We are so glad to be able to pay Fred and Lesley this amazing sum,’ he said.
‘It is essential that we ensure we are paying the rightful ticket-holder, and in situations like this, it can take a little time for these investigations to be completed.’
The Angus and Kincardineshire area in particular has been ripe for lottery wins in recent years, earning it the nickname of the ‘Golden Triangle’.
A former lifeboat coxswain from Arbroath David Gerrard and his wife Mary were among the first to become millionaires when they claimed £1.2million in 1996.
Three years later a ten-strong syndicate from a pub in Brechin shared a £4million prize, while Carnoustie couple Derek and Teresa Esposito won £1.3million in the same year.
It was a EuroMillions jackpot that made a fortune for Forfar woman Janette Robertson, who won £1million in 2013.
And former youth footballer Jake Bowman from Forfar ended up packing in his day job at a factory after winning a cool £10million two years ago.
But in terms of big wins, these sums pale in comparison to the £148million that Gillian Bayford and her now ex-husband Adrian scooped in 2012.
Laurencekirk residents were stunned at the news last night. One woman said: ‘It’s just amazing. It really makes you think it’s possible.’
Who is the biggest ever UK lottery winner? Two couples and a former car mechanic top list
Here are the six previous biggest UK winners of the EuroMillions draw so far
1. In July 2011, Colin and Chris Weir became Europe’s biggest lottery winners when they scooped more than £161million.
The couple, who have been married for 30 years, said they were ‘not scared’ of the wealth because they were going to have ‘so much fun’ with the money.
The pair, a retired TV cameraman and a retired psychiatric nurse, from Largs, in Ayrshire, said their children Carly, a photography student, and Jamie, a call centre worker, would be bought their own homes and cars.
The family made a £1million donation to the SNP shortly after winning.
Colin and Chris Weir became Europe’s biggest lottery winners when they scooped more than £161million in 2011
2. Adrian and Gillian Bayford, from Suffolk, took home more than £148 million in August 2012.
The marriage ended just 15 months into their new jackpot winning lives, citing the stress of the money as the reason they needed to split.
At the time, a spokesman for Mrs Bayford said: ‘Gillian Bayford confirms that her marriage to Adrian has broken down irretrievably and they have separated.’
It came after Mrs Bayford was forced to deny she had an affair with the couple’s gardener, Chris Tovey.
Adrian and Gillian Bayford, from Suffolk, took home more than £148 million in August 2012
3. An unnamed ticket-holder claimed just over £113million in October 2010, and chose not go public.
4. Neil Trotter, from south London, won nearly £108million, going from former car mechanic to multimillionaire in March 2014.
Neighbours in Croydon described he and partner Nicky Ottaway moved out ‘almost overnight’ after they scooped the EuroMillions jackpot last March.
Mr Trotter admitted at the time that he was like his namesake, Del Boy Trotter from Only Fools And Horses.
Neil Trotter, with partner Nicky Ottaway, won nearly £108million, going from former car mechanic to multimillionaire in March 2014
5. A couple from Cambridgeshire, Dave and Angela Dawes, won more than £101million on their third go on the EuroMillions draw in October 2011.
Mr Dawes said he ‘didn’t sleep a wink’ the night of the win, as it was too late to call Camelot after the couple checked their numbers.
Last year, the couple were taken to court by his son, an Afghanistan veteran, Michael Dawes, 32, who said he was ‘ungenerous in spirit’.
But a judge ruled the millionaire father does not need to keep bailing out his son, who burnt through £1.6million in two years, and came back for more, failing to heed his stepmother’s advice to stop eating at the Ritz and go to McDonald’s instead.
6. A UK winner got a £93 million payout in June 2015, but decided to remain anonymous.
Dave and Angela Dawes won more than £101million on their third go on the EuroMillions draw in October 2011
Source: Read Full Article