Life changing

Syndicate of 30 school staff share a £1M windfall

A syndicate of 30 teachers, teaching assistants and clerical staff from Simms Cross Primary School in Widnes are celebrating becoming the latest Lotto winners. The group took some convincing they had won £1M as they discovered their win on April Fool's Day.

Syndicate leader and teaching assistant, Julie Connaughton discovered the ticket as she was swapping purses and immediately checked it online. She said, "I actually couldn't believe what I was seeing – I had to check and check again that the raffle code really did match the ticket I was holding in my hand. I then shouted over to my partner to double check for me."

Julie went into school later the same day, and the first person she told was syndicate member and Headteacher, Lesley Feakes. "Lesley thought it was a joke. We called Camelot together to have the ticket verified and when it was confirmed we both just screamed out loud. Things like this just don't happen to ordinary people like us.

"We then told the rest of the syndicate and they just thought we were playing an April Fool's Day joke. I think it took most of the day to convince everyone that we really had won!"

Fantastic news

The 30–strong syndicate a mixture of teachers, teaching assistants and clerical staff have each walked away £33,333 richer. Lesley said, “This is just fantastic news – the best news ever for the staff of the school. We have all worked together for many years and all of the staff work so hard and do such a brilliant job, this is a great reward for them."

Lesley will be splashing out on a new wardrobe, a new bathroom and a new picture for her lounge wall which will be a constant reminder of her lucky lottery win.

Syndicate member Beth Murphy has already been out to book her wedding. "This win is life–changing for me. I had planned my wedding for May next year but kept thinking I will have to keep putting it off because of finances. But now I have been out and booked my wedding for October this year. I just cannot wait!"

Syndicate member Amanda Cowell, lead of the resource bases at the school for children with autism, said, "I am just absolutely delighted – it is great to have so many people involved in the win – this means so much to us all. I am still thinking how I will spend my share but it will probably involve paying off the mortgage and a few treats for myself and my family."

The syndicate have been playing for 17 years and say they have no plans to stop now. Julie added, "Everyone has mixed emotions, going from literally dancing around school, to full on tears of joy and excitement."

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