The Tridecadal Korean (astralblue) wrote,
The Tridecadal Korean

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<3 Lotto

It's so heartwarming when a fortune finds a right owner.

From an article on

DISCOVERING you have just won £20 million on the national lottery is clearly a life-changing experience, but for Belfast housewife Iris Jeffrey it may also be a life-saving one.

Having won Britain’s biggest ever single lottery jackpot, Mrs Jeffrey is likely to be the envy of millions. But her mammoth win was put into perspective when she revealed that she will use the money to try to beat cancer.

The 58-year-old former home help was diagnosed with cancer of the gullet in April and has been undergoing chemotherapy while she waits for an operation. Now, along with her retired husband Robert and daughters Wendy and Karen, she plans to use the cash to conquer her condition.

In the meantime, she has lined up a new washing machine as her first luxury purchase.

Mrs Jeffrey’s prize went unclaimed for three weeks as she forgot all about the ticket. It was only after organisers Camelot appealed for the winner to come forward that she checked off the numbers on her ticket.

She said: "It was only when I saw on TV that there was a big winner in Northern Ireland who hadn’t claimed that I decided to have a look. If I hadn’t been watching the news I probably would just have thrown it out."

Her main aim now is getting well and even though she praised the medical care provided in Belfast, the jackpot winner accepted she may have to look overseas for all available treatments. She said: "The daughters want me to do that."

Her eldest child, 32-year-old Wendy, insisted nothing else mattered. She said: "That was the first priority when we heard Mum had got the six numbers. It was just to see if there was any further treatment available.

"We will be looking into that to see if there’s anything else we can do to try to get a more speedy recovery for her."

Mrs Jeffrey, who is originally from Shankhill Road in Belfast, painfully accepted her win meant she will probably have to move from her modest home in the north of the city.

She said: "I really don’t want to. I don’t want to leave my friends and neighbours."

She also relived the winning moment. "I wrote down the numbers and checked them against my ticket. I thought that I had all six but could really not believe it so I asked my daughter Wendy to check for me," she said.

"When she confirmed the win I said: ‘Oh I’ve won, that’s nice.’ I really don’t think I realised quite what had happened."

For Mrs Jeffrey and her 62-year-old husband, a former floor layer, their fortune will be all about securing the future for Wendy and Karen, 28, who is expecting a baby.

"The big excitement to follow our windfall has to be the imminent prospect of becoming a grandmother for the first time, and my Lotto win will mean I can really and truly spoil the new arrival."

Although she could have her pick from top-of-the-range sports cars, Mrs Jeffrey is planning a more humble treat for husband Robert. A Renault Clio or a Volkswagen Golf is on the shopping list. And her own special treat will be replacing the broken washing machine. "That’s all I want," she insisted.

Future plans for a holiday in Las Vegas have been put on hold while she fights the illness, but she said a trip to Blackpool was a possibility.

Daughter Wendy admitted the money could be invaluable in their search for a breakthrough. "This has made life a lot easier for her due to her medical condition," she said. "That will solve a lot of problems."


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