EuroMillions couple who won £115m New Year's jackpot revealed to be grandparents from Northern Ireland
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EuroMillions couple who won £115m New Year's jackpot revealed to be grandparents from Northern Ireland

THE lucky winners of a EuroMillions jackpot worth a staggering £115million on New Year's Day have been revealed as a married couple from Northern Ireland.

Patrick and Frances Connolly, from Moira in Co. Armagh, have become the fourth biggest winners in UK history following Tuesday's lottery draw - netting themselves a cool £114,969,775.70 (around €130m).

The couple, who have three daughters and three grandchildren, have already planned to share their win with around 50 special people in their lives - and have them all written down on a list.

Frances, 52, and Patrick, 54, are regular Lotto players but usually only play the EuroMillions when a big jackpot is on offer.

Their astonishing win means they instantly join the top 20 richest people in Northern Ireland and are far wealthier than the nation's highest earning sportsman, four-time major winning golfer Rory McIlroy.

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Speaking at a press conference in Belfast where their identities were revealed on Friday morning, Frances said most of the people they plan to give money to have no idea.

"That was always the first thing I was going to do," she said.

"The pleasure for me is going to be seeing their faces, I can't wait".

In the New Year's Day draw their winning EuroMillions numbers were 1, 8, 11, 25, 28 and the winning Lucky Star numbers were 4 and 6.

Another 10 lucky players won £1million each on the night.

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Frances added: "I always hoped we would win the lottery one day, but when we did, it would be just our luck that lots of others would win on the same day with the same numbers too!

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would ever win almost £115million. I'm going to enjoy every moment of it."

Explaining why they decided to go public with their mouth-watering win, Patrick said: "We come from a big family. All the young ones have Facebook, it was never just to be a secret.

"If it was small family we would ask people to keep it quiet but it's impossible. Two days we waited. Our phone hasn't stopped. How do you not tell people?

"How do you explain to others how you're able to spend so much without telling them?"

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The New Year’s Day win follows a series of high-profile lottery prizes in recent years.

In July 2011, Colin and Chris Weir, from Ayrshire in Scotland, became the biggest lottery winners in Europe when they scooped more than £161 million.

Adrian and Gillian Bayford, from Suffolk, took home more than £148 million in August 2012, while the biggest prize awarded in the UK in 2018 was £121 million - handed to an anonymous winner in April.

And last November, builder Andrew Clark, 51, from Boston in Lincolnshire, discovered he had won £76 million some six weeks after the draw. He said he stockpiled tickets in his van, only checking them every three months.

Andy Carter, the National Lottery's Senior Winners' Advisor, said: "Imagine kicking off the New Year with an extra £114million to your name! What an amazing win and year ahead for them.

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"This win ranks at number four in the list of the biggest ever National Lottery winners and we look forward to helping them begin to enjoy their win."

He added: "By buying a ticket for EuroMillions or any other National Lottery game, every player is helping to raise money for Good Causes.

"On average, around £30 million is raised every week for projects across the UK, both big and small, including funding everything from local community projects to preserving the nation’s heritage."