Enter the realm of millionaires

How they won and how their lives have changed - the National Lottery's jackpot winners tell it all.

Sailing off with a £1 million win

Following a challenging six years, a couple from Maidstone are looking forward to a much brighter future after their EuroMillions UK Millionaire Raffle selection made them instant millionaires.

Wayne and Desirée Home cannot believe that their 'living nightmare' has come to an end with a cool £1,000,000 in the bank, and are still reeling from the enormity of their life-changing win.

It was Wayne, an IT Project Manager in financial services, who discovered the win, but a self-confessed pessimist, he didn't share the news with Desirée until he was absolutely sure it was genuine. He said:

"On Thursday I was up at 5:15am and over a cup of tea, checked our EuroMillions ticket. When the numbers didn't match I looked at the raffle selection, not for one minute expecting we would have the letters and numbers! I checked it, checked it again and then checked again and sure enough they all matched. I remember thinking 'should I wake Des up?' but I still didn't believe it was real so decided to do one more check again at work."

So off Wayne set for his two-hour commute into central London with his million pound winning EuroMillion Millionaire Raffle ticket in his top pocket. Once at work, he checked his emails, had a cup of coffee and logged onto national-lottery.co.uk, believing he had it wrong and the matching raffle selection was just an early morning error. Thankfully, the screen confirmed that the selection matched but he still held off sharing the news with Desirée until Camelot had verified the win.

"Once I'd registered the win it was time to let Des in on the news but I initially decided to tell her it was half a million so that she wouldn't go completely crazy! Suffice to say, she was screaming and yelling down the phone with some colourful language as she tried to take on board what had just happened to us. When I called back a bit later to say that it was actually a million, the screaming just got louder!"

With the money now safely in the bank the screaming is a little quieter and the tears of joy slightly fewer but both Wayne and Desirée still cannot comprehend the sudden turnaround in their fortunes after the six years of heartache they have experienced.

Married for 34 years, the couple enjoyed a happy and financially secure family life with their three children until 2008 when Desirée was diagnosed with bowel cancer. There then followed a catalogue of disasters with the mum of three experiencing respiratory failure, twice, and life-threatening double pneumonia during her cancer treatment.

Then, when Desirée was undergoing post-surgery chemotherapy, another life-threatening condition was discovered which saw her rushed into Kings College for spinal surgery. Although on the mend, the various surgeries and treatments have left her with reduced feeling from the waist down and suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.

To make matters worse, during the six long years of treatment, the couple both lost their jobs and facing financial ruin made the difficult decision to sell the family home simply to keep their heads above water.

Now well and truly above water, Wayne said; "We have come through the hard times and this win signals an exciting future for our entire family. Family is everything to us and we will now be able to help our three children out as well as ensure financial security for ourselves for the years to come. We won't be moving house because we are happy here but I will definitely be handing in my notice and finally saying goodbye to the four hours I have spent commuting every day for the last 18 months."

While a new home is not on the cards, the lucky pair have decided that Wayne's bargain boat that he recently bought on an internet auction site will be upgraded for a better, possibly bigger, model. Meanwhile Desirées' car will be refurbished with a new spray job and plush new seats, and there might even be a Jag for Wayne.

Despite playing every week, Wayne didn't ever believe they would win although admits that the couple often enjoyed the 'when we win the Lottery' conversation, especially when times were particularly tough.

He said; "We once had a very comfortable life and then nearly lost it all, fortunately though we have kept together as a family. I always bought our tickets hoping for a win but also knowing that so many great projects benefit from Lottery funding so figured if we didn't benefit, something or someone else would. There are lots of projects in Maidstone that have received Lottery funding, it looks like we are just one more!"

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