St Helens residents have shared a £3m prize pot in the People's Postcode Lottery.
Two lucky players landed the whopping top prize of £335,523 each, thanks to playing in the full winning postcode, WA10 6DZ. The remaining 641 residents received cheques ranging from £3,215 to £19,290, which were handed out by People’s Postcode Lottery ambassadors Jeff Brazier and Matt Johnson.
Margaret Roberts, 76, was one of the lucky winners in the full winning postcode who scooped £335,523.
"This win means the absolute world to me," she said. "I can’t quite believe it – I think I need someone to pinch me! I thought it was a wind up at first, but it’s definitely real.
Margaret was surrounded by her family when she received her cheque, including her husband Norman, son Mark, daughter-in-law Andrea, and four grandchildren, Calum and Kate, 25, Lucy, 13, and Sam, 12.
"We’re such a close family," she added. "I’ll definitely be treating them all however my husband has just had a triple bypass operation so the main thing is that he gets better. This win is just an added bonus and I’m genuinely ecstatic."
Garry Clark, 34, a dance lecturer who has been playing for just a month, pocketed a cheque for £9,645, thanks to playing with three tickets.
He said: "It’s a fantastic surprise. I’m completely blown away by it. It means that we’ll be able to get a few extra Christmas presents for the kids and we will be able to treat them."
Frederick Bishop. 86, a retired steam train engineer, was one of the winners in the postcode sector who received a cheque for £3,215.
He was emotional upon seeing how much he had won. He said: "I’m lost for words. My wife unfortunately passed away a few years ago, but it was her who originally signed us up to play.
"I think she had something to do with this win. My son was in the RAF and now lives in Cornwell, so now I’ll be able to fly down and visit him and help him out. This will be the best Christmas yet and it’s an absolute joy to win."
Keith Richardson, 73, a retired glass worker was another neighbour who bagged a £3,215 prize.
He said: "I’ve always believed in Father Christmas and today People’s Postcode Lottery has made Christmas come early.
"I’m going to put it towards treating all the family and maybe add some of it to a new car fund. It’s great to win together and it’s lovely to know that it benefits charities at the same time."
Michelle Whitby, 39, a student support manager, was with her husband Simon, and three children, Alfie, 4, Lucy, 9, George, 12, when she received her cheque for £3,215:
"It’s a lovely Christmas bonus for St. Helens," she said. "It’s amazing the £3 million prize has come back again this year!’ We’ll be able to relax over Christmas and will treating ourselves to a nice holiday in Tenerife. The family will be round for some celebratory drinks tonight."
Karen Shadwell, 56, a delivery courier, won £3,215 the same month her mum scooped a win.
She said: "My mum just recently won down the road - luck obviously runs in the family. I’ve actually just recently gone back to work after being off for eight months due to breaking my leg, so the win has come at an excellent time.
"I’ll probably spend it on my children – although I’m sure they’ll have spent it in their heads already."
Karl Boardman, 51, signed up to play a year ago after the Postcode Millions landed in St Helens a year ago.
Karl, a repairman, collected the cheque with his wife Diane: "I’m absolutely made up and for it to come just come before Christmas is great," he said.
"It means an awful lot and will help make the festivities that bit more exciting. There’s been a great atmosphere in the street and it’s also wonderful to know that by playing it’s helping so many different charities."
St. Helens and the surrounding area has been particularly lucky this weekend, with ten neighbours in Billinge, WN5 7TP, winning £360,000 between them on Friday. December 21.
Eight of the residents scooped £30,000 each, with two doubling the win to an incredible £60,000 thanks to playing with two tickets.
St. Helens also scooped the same £3 million prize pot in September last year, when WA9 6PP saw over 800 residents sharing the cash.
A minimum of 32 per cent from each ticket goes to charity and so far, People’s Postcode Lottery players have raised £371m for over 5,500 charities and good causes in Great Britain and internationally.
Many local charities have benefited from the funding raised by players, including Bloomingart, which received £1,695 last year to run art sessions with older people aiming to reduce social isolation.