Meet the luckiest group of people ever — 25 winners who hit the jackpot over 25 consecutive years of The National Lottery. To celebrate the anniversary of the first ever draw on November 19, 1994, winners spanning a quarter century of good luck lined up for celebrity photographer Sven Arnstein. Amanda Cable hears their remarkable — and moving — stories.
1: We sent an entire school on holiday
Ray Wragg, 81, from Sheffield won £7,649,520 on January 22, 2000. He lost his wife, Barbara, last year.
The morning after the numbers came up, I rang my boss to resign. When I told him I’d had a win, he said: ‘That reminds me, I need to check my ticket.’ I replied: ‘Don’t bother, Dave — I won the lot!’
Ray Wragg, 81, from Sheffield won £7,649,520 on January 22, 2000. He lost his wife, Barbara, last year
I had never been out of the country. My wife, Barbara, didn’t like flying, so we’d been on holiday to Torquay for 31 years.
After winning, we decided to try a cruise and we loved it. We paid for some local kids from school to have a holiday at a farm. They had never seen rabbits or guinea pigs — and they were scared. I’ll never forget it.
2: At last, I could see Dad in New Zealand
Sam Lange, 47, won £1,575,878 on May 8, 1999. She lives in Seaford, East Sussex, with her partner Malcolm and has three children and a stepson.
When I won, I had been saving up £50 a week to go and see my dad in New Zealand, after four years apart.
We were suddenly able to visit Dad for a month and take him to places he’d never dreamed — like flying up a mountain and swimming with dolphins. It was a £5,000 trip, but worth every penny. We stayed in the same house, and built an extension.
Lucky: 25 winners who hit the jackpot over 25 consecutive years of The National Lottery
We also bought a holiday home in France which has given us many happy family holidays together. I was able to give up work, and devote myself to being a mum.
3: My ‘Robbie Hobby’
Cheryl Brundenell, 52, from Stockton-on-Tees, won £916,915 on February 22, 1997. She lives with husband Mark, 54. They have two grown-up children.
The win has allowed me to indulge in my passion for the singer Robbie Williams. I’ve seen him 40 times in concert around the world.
Cheryl Brundenell, 52, from Stockton-on-Tees, won £916,915 on February 22, 1997, with her husband Mark
We booked to see him in Tallinn, Estonia, and didn’t even know where that was. I finally met him in person in Las Vegas last year. I was starstruck, but he gave me a hug and he was lovely.
I call it my Robbie Hobby — but there’s worse things I could be doing with my money!
4: It paid for my cancer treatment
Tracy Field, 51, won £2,561,513 in July 30, 2008, and lives in Benfleet, Essex. She has two grown-up sons.
I had been struggling as a single mum doing three jobs and recovering from a cancer treatment the previous year. I went from a three-bed semi to a four-bed detached, which cost £430,000.
I’ve also helped my two sons get homes, but the best thing that I spend the money on is private medical treatment. I found some more lumps, and instead of waiting, I was able to have the scans instantly.
5: After five years I could afford IVF
Trish Emson, 49, from Rotherham won £1,747,728 on October 25, 2003. She lives with partner Graham and their son.
We had been saving for IVF after trying for five-and-a-half years for a baby. I was due to start fertility treatment the following January, and I was so happy when we won, because I knew that we could afford more attempts if our first didn’t work.
Shortly after our win we discovered I was pregnant: Benjamin was born in August. It was like winning the Lottery all over again. We bought him a babygro which said: ‘Millionaire in training.’
6: Got a fast car – the dog hated it!
Viv Moss, 68, from Newquay, Cornwall, won £6,048,499 on October 3, 1998. She lives with her husband Kevin, 73, and they have have two grown-up children.
The shock of winning was like an unexpected death. I had sickness for a fortnight, and lost a stone in weight. I was teaching hair and beauty at a local college, but I couldn’t let the class down.
We went from a four-bedroom home to a five-bedroom, and drove our Ford Escort to a Range Rover showroom. When we said we’d pay cash, he said: ‘You’ve either just won the Lottery, or sold a business.’ I swapped my eight-year-old Ford Focus for a convertible, but the dog didn’t like the wind in his ears, so I later chose a Bentley instead.
Dione and Richard Buss won £1,888,630 on September 28, 2013
7: A jackpot after months of illness
Dione Buss, 53, won £1,888,630 on September 28, 2013. She lives in Bridgwater, Somerset, with husband Richard, 54.
I had just returned to work for the council after months of sick leave because of my MS. It improved my health because my condition can be made worse by stress. Richard and I went to see the Great Wall of China — and standing there, it really hit home that our lives had changed.
8: A £2 gift from my dad did the trick
Libby Elliot, 57, won £2,159,664 on August 18, 2012. She lives in Aberdeenshire and has four grown-up children.
My Dad gave me the money for my Lotto ticket. I’d taken his grandchildren to visit him in hospital, and he handed them pocket money then gave me £2. On a whim, I put it on the Lucky Dip on my way home.
The day after I won, Dad had an appointment at the fracture clinic after a fall. I took him to hospital, and he turned and said: ‘Look at you. You’re a multi-millionaire and yet you’re sitting here beside me.’
That still makes me cry. Dad died just before last Christmas.
I bit my nails before I won, but now I have beautiful sparkly nails and I love my regular manicures.
9: I had a sudden urge to check my ticket
Anne Canavan, 58, from Northern Ireland won £1,054,000 on Euro-Millions on August 28, 2015.
I was washing my car on the afternoon of the draw, and I said to my neighbour: ‘It’s about time someone from around here won the Lottery.’ The following morning, at 1am, I suddenly had the urge to check the results, so I switched my laptop on.
When I realised I’d won, I woke my daughter up, but it took half an hour to convince her that I wasn’t joking. After that, we stayed up all night with cups of tea, planning what to do with the money.
I still live in the same four-bedroom house I had before I won. I spent £50,000 doing it up, and I bought four further properties as investments.
10: I’m building my son a footie pitch
Matt Myles, 33, from Hereford, won £1 million on the EuroMillions Raffle on April 8, 2014. He lives with his wife Stacy and their son.
I actually had a panic attack when the man from Camelot arrived with the cheque. I was a single lad and I immediately quit my job and flew to Bali on holiday with seven of my mates. It was the first of many lads’ holidays — but then I met Stacy, who knocked me for six. We planned a world trip together, but when we got to China, Stacy became unwell.
I took her to hospital, where they took us into a room, flashed up a baby scan and all the doctors started clapping. I became so emotional — I actually had my second panic attack. Our son was born in December 2017. We now live in a converted chapel and I am building him a football pitch.
11: Our first buys? A merc and porsche
Sarah Ibbetson, 41, won £3,013,767 on July 20, 2002. She lives in Leeds with her husband Aldan and their three children.
I was on maternity leave as a dental nurse when we won, and our daughter Alicia was six months old. It meant I could be a stay-at-home mum for her, and later our other two children.
We were only 24 and the first things we bought were a Mercedes and a Porsche. When the guy asked how we’d pay, and we said debit card, his face was a picture.
We made the Sunday Times Rich List, and we’ve still got a copy. We went from a three-bed semi to a five-bed detached, and started our own number-plate business.
12: We bought three houses in one day
Brian Caswell, 84, won £24,951,269.40 on EuroMillions on June 12, 2009. He lives in Bolton with wife Joan, 82, and they have grown-up children.
I went to collect the newspapers, and I checked my ticket. I had all six numbers, and I walked home a little in shock. We’d lived in our house for 48 years, but after we won, it was clear we’d have to move.
We bought ourselves a new five-bedroomed house, and a house for each of our two adult daughters, all on the same day.
Our favourite moment has been taking our grandchildren to Lapland on a private plane. Joan and I have just celebrated our diamond wedding anniversary and feel very lucky in life; I still play the Lottery — I even won a tenner last week!
13: I rang mum, then burst into tears
Kerri-Ann Robinson, 41, won £2,543,691 on January 24, 2007. She lives in Stevenage with her husband Tony and two children.
I rushed out on the Wednesday lunchtime, and, as an afterthought, chose a Lucky Dip for the Lotto draw that night.
I checked the numbers the next day at college, during break, and when I realised I had won, everything went blurry. I put my ticket in my pencil case, rang my mum and burst into tears.
I married Tony in 2010 in a dream wedding — and walking down the aisle was one of the most magical moments of my life.
14: Our home has a maze and a lake
Mother-of-three Geraldine Bradley, 50, won £3,570,063 as part of a family syndicate on March 11, 2006. She lives in Gwynnon, Llanarthne, south-west Wales with her husband Christopher, 48.
My first thought when I realised I’d won was I wanted to get my ironing done before the Press came around. I remember thinking: ‘The house needs to be shipshape!’
The first thing we bought was a £9.99 Kentucky Fried Chicken to celebrate, although our first big purchase was a new Mercedes some four months later.
We moved to a four-bedroomed country home with a maze in the grounds and a lake.
15: Raising the kids means more to me
Elaine Thompson, 63, won £2,704,666 on December 9, 1995. She lives in Killingworth, Tyne and Wear, with husband Derek, 61. They have two grown-up children.
I kept a journal for my children since they were born, and it tells the story of the Lottery win and how it changed our lives. The children had to work throughout their teens, and seeing them go to university and buy their own houses — with much of their own savings — was a defining moment for me.
16: As a benefits mum this was a godsend
Bev Middleton, 40, won £14,509,500 on EuroMillions on February 17, 2017. She lives in Bradford with her four children and fiance, Colin.
I was living on a council estate, struggling to raise four children — two of whom were autistic. I was in debt and on benefits. Then I won, and I bought a house outright just five minutes up the road, near the special school my children attend. I rang to cancel my benefits and the lady nearly dropped the phone when I said I’d won the Lottery.
One of the best things I’ve been able to do is send my son, who struggles socially, to private school. He’s no longer bullied and he’s now on the rugby team.
17: ‘What have I done?’ I thought to myself
Ben Woods, 38, from Liverpool won £2,485,736 on February 21, 2004. He lives with wife, Leanne, and their three children.
I was 23, single and living at home when I won. I finished my shift as a railway guard, and went to the local pub.
Mum and Dad were sitting there, white with shock, because they’d checked my numbers. Dad said he needed to talk to me alone and I thought: ‘What have I done?’ The money has paid for 12 trips to New York, a house for my sister and a five-bedroom house for me.
I met Leanne, my future wife, nine months after the win, and when I turned up in a brand-new Range Rover, her Nan said: ‘I think he’s a drug dealer!’ Now, we have three children and I’m a stay-at-home dad.
18: The shock sent me into labour one month early
Natalie Metcalf, 38, from Thornbury, Gloucestershire, won £1 million on EuroMillions on February 1 this year. She lives with fiancé Andy Symes, 41, and their two children.
I was eight months pregnant when I won, and I could only have a few tiny sips of champagne that night.
The next day, we viewed a new house — and I went into labour a month early. I’m convinced it was the shock.
Our daughter was born on February 5, and holding her in my arms was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Andy’s dad is one of four boys, Andy is one of three boys, he also has two nephews plus we already had a son, Noah. So having a little girl felt like all my dreams had come true — and we called her Poppy Marie Lottie.
19: I won a million then earned £100
Jamie Heavens, 26, won £1 million on a Millionaire Riches Scratchcard on September 9, 2016. He lives in Bournemouth with his wife, Danielle, and their young son, Hughie.
I was working as a roofer for the family firm when my uncle sent me to refuel the truck.
The man in front of me at the petrol station bought a scratchcard, so I picked the same one. I drove to a layby to scratch it, and realised I’d won. But it was 7.30am, and I still had a day’s shift ahead.
I won £1 million and earned another £100 for my shift. My son, Hughie was nine weeks old, and although I’d already proposed to Danielle, the win gave us the wedding of our dreams. I still work, but now I’m my own boss.
20: Boob jobs for me and my sisters
Sarah Cockings, 36, won £3,045,705 on April 30, 2005. She lives in Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, with her partner and three children.
I bought my house outright, and I have a nice car but I live a very normal life. I went back to university to study after winning because my mum so wanted that picture of me graduating — which she has now on her mantelpiece.
Just after I won, I bought my two sisters boob jobs. But now I’ve had one myself, because mine were wrecked by breastfeeding. I love them!
21: Our ticket to luxury train travel
Geoffrey Bennette, 70, won £3,530,707 on June 18, 2011. He lives near Blackburn, Lancs, with his wife Hilary, 63.
I had recently retired as a manager at Bolton Council. I discovered we’d won early on the Sunday morning, but as I was volunteering at a cycling event for the day I left the ticket at home before contacting Camelot. As we love travelling by train, we’ve explored South Africa, Scandinavia, India, New Zealand and Australia.
While in Australia, celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary, we visited Uluru (Ayers Rock) when a rainbow appeared. You can’t put a price on the experiences we’ve had and memories we’ve made.
22: A yacht for my 40th birthday
Deana Sampson, 58, won £5,439,681 on October 5, 1996. She lives in Sheffield and has two grown-up children and two grandchildren.
I had £3.60 in my bank account when I won, I was working as a hairdresser and living in a council house. I bought my parents a bungalow two weeks after the win, and took 22 family members on a luxury holiday to Jamaica.
I spent £800,000 on a beautiful yacht which was delivered on my 40th birthday. I was dining at a restaurant in Majorca with family and friends when the new boat sailed into view — and it was a real ‘pinch me’ moment.
23: We flew nine to New York on Concorde
Tom Naylor, 64, won £15,528,286 on Lotto Extra on November 14, 2001. He lives in Wheaton Aston, Staffordshire, with his wife Rita, 62.
I was convinced I’d win the Lottery one day, and I’d tell my friends: ‘When my numbers come up, I’ll get a car for every day of the week.’ Now, I have two Aston Martins, three Jaguars, a Ford Mustang and a Land Rover Discovery. Not bad considering my old car was a Ford Granada.
My biggest extravagance was flying nine family members to New York via Concorde. It cost £25,000 and when we saw three giant white stretch limos waiting at the airport, it was an incredible moment. When we arrived at the hotel, all the tourists pulled their cameras out because they thought we were famous. I felt ten foot tall.
24: We called our daughter Lottie
Arron Walshaw, 33, won £1 million on Lotto on July 11, 2018. He lives in Ossett, West Yorkshire, with fiancée Ceri, 24, and their two young children.
When I checked the results on the app, I thought I’d been pranked. When we realised it was true, we went straight onto RightMove to look for a new house. We found our dream home three weeks later.
Just one month after the win, we conceived our second baby together — and it felt like winning the Lottery all over again. We called our new daughter Lottie.
I’m a plasterer and I still work, but I’m around to be hands on with the children, too.
25: I knew I’d never be cold ever again
Susan Herdman, 51, from Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, won £1,182,714 on January 16, 2010. She lives with her partner, Andrew.
I was always turning down the thermostat because I couldn’t afford the bills, so when I won I immediately turned the heating up, and I realised I’d never be cold again. I owned a hair salon and I carried on for nine months after I won.
Then, I picked up a magazine in the salon and read a story about a woman who’d had a perfect life, and suddenly died. It was a lightbulb moment. I sold my salon two days later and never looked back.
I turned to my hobby of Autograss racing, and won the national championships in 2016 and 2017.