Early bird Jeff catches a £500,000 Thunderball prize

Jeff Etherington, a machine setter for the automotive industry, is crediting his decision to swap work shifts for his amazing £500,000 Thunderball win.

The 65-year-old from Harlow opted to work an early shift on 11th January, 2023 because he had a hospital appointment to discuss a knee replacement. After his consultation, he went to a supermarket and bought a Thunderball Lucky Dip ticket.

Jeff said, “I’ve always believed that one day I would win big. It’s taken 28 years but here we are, I’m heading into retirement with £500,000 extra to my name.

“I can’t help thinking it’s fate. Had I not swapped shifts for that hospital appointment, I wouldn’t have been buying my Lucky Dip ticket at that exact moment and some other lucky person might now be celebrating instead!”

Jeff, and his fiancée Kim, 60, who have 5 children and 8 grandchildren between them, have decided their lucky win means it’s time to get married. He said, “We’ve been together for 6 years, and finally got engaged in 2021. We always knew we would get married eventually but the money was always spent on something else. Now that ‘eventually’ wedding can happen imminently!”

Recounting the moment he realised he’d won a big prize, Jeff said, “ I turned to Kim and said ‘We’ve won £500,000!’. She responded by telling me to go away, but in quite colourful language!”

The following morning, Jeff was able to share the wonderful news with family and work colleagues. He said, “I messaged a few of my work colleagues, including my boss, a screenshot of the ticket and my winning £500,000 message from the app. My boss congratulated me and then immediately said ‘guess that means you’ll be handing in your notice’; I think he was very relieved when I confirmed he’d have to put up with me for a bit longer.

“When I walked into the workshop the following day, word had spread and everyone clapped and cheered; it was a surreal moment.”

Looking to the future, Jeff admits he has already completed many of his ‘when I win the Lottery’ moments. He said, “I’m sure in time we will get the hang of being National Lottery winners but at the moment, we’re hard pushed to think of a ‘must do’. We’ve both replaced our cars relatively recently, we’ve had our home redecorated and a new kitchen fitted, the bathroom is booked to be renovated next month and we had already booked and paid for our holiday to Lanzarote. It’s almost like we knew we were going to win!

“Having said that, the day the win was confirmed I did have a look at marlin fishing in Hawaii to celebrate, but changed my mind. We booked a 4-night break at a luxury lodge, complete with hot tub, instead!”

26th January 2023

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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