Tyrone lottery winner Margaret Loughrey says she will stay in her native Strabane despite scooping a whopping £27 million Euromillions jackpot.
Margaret, or Mags as she is known to her friends, struck gold after hitting five numbers and two lucky stars in last Tuesday night’s draw.
The unemployed and single 48-year-old from Carlton Drive in the Co Tyrone town broke her silence yesterday as the shock of her £26,863,588.20 win continued to sink in. She said that while she had no immediate plans for the money it would change many lives for the better.
Speaking from her modest two bedroom bungalow, Margaret recalled the moment she realised she was a millionaire 27 times over. She also revealed that despite her new-found wealth, she has no plans to leave her home town.
Margaret said: “I left the house on Tuesday because I heard there was a job advertised and I wanted to apply for it. So I went to the Jobcentre and printed out the job application before going to SuperValu. I can’t always afford to do the Euromillions but I had a couple of extra pound in my purse and just on the spur of the moment I did a lucky dip,” she said.
The shop assistant handed her the slip with the numbers 19, 23, 27, 42 and 44 with lucky stars 3 and 5. In a seven billion to one stroke of luck, they were the exact numbers drawn.
“I got up at 7am on Wednesday and put on the television. I just had this notion so I checked my numbers and there they were. I was just in state of shock and I must have checked ten times. I took a walk out to the back garden and sat out there for a while before coming back in and checking again. I must have walked around the house for five hours before ringing my brother and asking him to call up.”
From struggling by on £58 per week Jobseeker’s Allowance, Margaret Loughrey is now officially one of Ireland’s richest women. Her millions rival those of singer Adele and far surpass the earnings of stars like Cheryl Cole, Colleen Rooney and Leona Lewis.
While is she beginning to come to terms with her amazing stroke of luck, Margaret said she has no immediate plans to splash on her new found wealth. A chunk of it will however go to her four brothers, sister, 75-year-old mum, extended family and a few close friends.
“I think I deserve it,” she said. “I’m a good person and I bother no one. If whatever is out there has given me this amount of money, then it couldn’t be for anything but good. All it will do is change lives for the better and make a lot of people happy, not just me.”
Margaret said that before her winnings she had often dreamt of retiring to the south of Spain. With £27 million at her disposal that dream could now become a reality. She said though that she would not allow the money to change her.
“Definitely not. It won’t change who I am. Strabane will always be home for me. I know I can go and live wherever I want in the world but I am staying in Strabane. I might just buy a bigger house and go on nice holidays. I really don’t know, but Strabane is my home and always will be.”