After ill-health Essex couple get financial boost

A couple from Southend-on-Sea who have battled ill-health and, as a result, financial hardship can finally put an end to their 30 year engagement and say ‘I do’ after scooping £1,000,000 in the Lotto Millionaire Raffle.

A lucky couple from Essex are coming to terms with a huge change in fortune after banking £1Million on the Lotto Millionaire Raffle. Tony Pearce, 66, and Deb Gellatly, 58, were going to have to sell their beloved bungalow to avoid repossession after Tony suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this year. Now they are planning their dream wedding.

After winning playing online, the couple can’t believe how their lives have changed again in 2017, but this time for the better. Tony said, “This time last year we had life all planned out. We were both working, had a nice three-bed home and could see our comfortable retirement within grasp. Then, while on holiday this February, I had a cardiac arrest and our life was turned upside down.”

Tony was faced with a stark choice from his doctor. “He told me I could go back to work but I would be unlikely see the year out, or stop working all together. Obviously we took the latter but it put a massive strain on our finances and we’d decided our only way forward was to sell the house and move away to a cheaper part of the country. And then a little bit of magic hit.”

£1M Lotto win saves couples dream home


Tony discovered that Lady Luck had paid them a visit early on Sunday morning when he saw an email in his inbox from The National Lottery.

“We like to play the National Lottery because we see how much good it does for all sorts of different charities and projects that without it just couldn’t keep going. Obviously we also hoped to win but never dreamt it would be quite so big.

“When I saw the email saying there was news about my ticket I assumed, like everyone, it would be a couple of quid so didn’t actually click on the email straightaway. When I did, with bleary eyes, no glasses and the small print on my phone, I thought we’d won £1. Then I took a closer look and saw a selection of noughts and realised it was quite a bit more.”

With his bleariness forgotten Tony yelled at partner Deb to wake up, shouting ‘I think we’ve won £1 million on the lottery’ whereupon Deb took one look, said it was a scam and rolled over to go back to sleep.


Once Camelot confirmed the win, Tony called his two children who were just as surprised but equally delighted that the win would mean a secure future for their dad and step-mum, Deb.

With the money now in the bank, Tony, a former business manager for a local car showroom and Deb, who works in administration, can really start to make plans.

“There’ll be the obvious sensible stuff like paying off the rest of the mortgage on the bungalow and our debts, plus some renovations we’d planned when we bought the place 10 years ago, but most importantly in the first half of 2018 Deb and I will finally tie the knot in a dream wedding.

“It’s what we always wanted to do but initially we didn’t because there was always something else to do or buy. My ill-health really focused our minds on the priorities in life so when we decided we definitely wanted to get married more than anything, we couldn’t because the funds weren’t there, but they sure as hell are now!”

For the couple who met more than 30 years ago the end of their financial woes will herald the start of the secure retirement they were working towards before Tony was taken so seriously ill.

“The way I see it, earlier this year the hospital gave me my life back, now the lottery has given our life together back and we intend to enjoy every second of it.”

1st December 2017

The National Lottery has been changing the lives of winners and supporting good causes across the UK since 1994. In that time, there have been more than 7,000 new millionaires created and by playing The National Lottery you raise over £4 million for Good Causes every dayΔ.

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