A father and daughter from Whittlesey have won a £729,026 Lotto jackpot and are already making plans to give back to the community that has helped the family so much in recent times.
Derek Daniels (77) and his daughter, Lorraine Daniels (41), are over the moon that the syndicate numbers they have played every Lottery draw since Lorraine’s daughter, Lotus, was born have come up trumps in the draw held last Wednesday, April 20.
Lorraine discovered the magical change in circumstances on Thursday morning after she had waved her daughter off on the school bus. Receiving a call from her dad, who only lives two minutes around the corner, Lorraine was convinced something awful had happened.
She said; “It was just before eight when dad called and my immediate thought was something had happened to mum but all he said was ‘what are your Lottery numbers?’ To be honest I thought he was going potty but he told me to sit down and then said, ‘you’ve won the Lottery’ - then it was me who went slightly potty!”
Turning on the TV to double-check, Lorraine saw the magic six numbers the little family syndicate had been playing since Lotus’ birth almost seven years earlier; a combination of her birth date, baby weight, room she was born in and the day she was christened.
Within minutes Lorraine’s dad appeared at the house and the pair tried to process the situation between them. With 45 minutes to go until the Camelot claim line opened, Lorraine and Derek hid the ticket away safely and nervously waited to stake their claim bang on 9am.
Derek said; “We were sitting there somewhere between stunned and crazy! We kept thinking about all the things that were now possible and how all our heartache and worry for Lotus’ future was over. Making that call was wonderful but even after it had been confirmed we were still in absolute shock, going through every magical how, what, why and when to spend.
“I don’t know how many cups of tea and coffee we went through but it was a very memorable moment for a dad to share with his daughter and believe me, we’ve shared many memorable moments!”
With the win confirmed the pair carried on with their day but all the time grinning ear to ear. Lorraine who, cares for Lotus full-time, hasn’t had a proper night sleep in years but both her and Lotus slept like babies that night, safe in the knowledge that things were going to get a lot easier for them.
Lotus was only a couple of weeks old when she started to suffer with epileptic fits which worsened over time until aged 3 she was having 300 a day and doctor’s recommended putting her into an induced coma. Then in April 2014 Lotus underwent a nine and half hour operation at Great Ormond Street to have the right side of her brain removed. Lorraine said;
“Since her operation Lotus has baffled all the doctors and specialists who predicted a very limited quality of life. She is learning to walk again and communicate through sign language, and she’s doing really well at her school. The Lotto win is amazing, Lotus is our miracle.”
With the winnings now safely in the bank Derek and Lorraine’s first thought is to payback their local community who recently raised funds for Lotus to have a specialist bed all of her own. Lorraine explains;
“Lotus has always slept with me, originally so that I was there to manage the seizures and since her miracle recovery, in case she falls out of bed and can’t call for me. I couldn’t afford the specialist bed so the community was amazing and recently raised enough money for us to order it. Who would have thought that when we placed that order, before the bed had even arrived, I would have won the Lottery and can now pay back the community so the money can go to another worthy cause.”
Beyond helping the community Lorraine plans to use her share to take Lotus on holiday, short trips to begin with eventually a holiday in Spain for the pair who have been through so much. And a new home is also on the cards but only if they can stay within the community that has been such a support.
Derek has his own plans which are still as loose as the morning they discovered the win but he thinks include a cruise and a new car will see him right in the short-term.
Derek bought the family’s winning Lotto ticket at Parkers News on Market Street in Whittlesey and the winning numbers were 1, 7, 10, 9, 12 and 31. The Daniel’s syndicate were one of five lucky players to share the £2,187,078 jackpot.
The National Lottery changes the lives of winners like Derek and Lorraine’s as well as communities across the UK – players raise, on average, over £34m for National Lottery-funded projects every week. In their local Fenland postcode area alone there have been nearly 359 individual National Lottery grants made to date, funding projects across the arts, sports, heritage, health, education, environment, charity and voluntary sectors.
In The Daniels’ own back yard National Lottery funding has helped:
• Alderman Jacobs School develop an unused piece of land within the school and turn it into a sensory and wildlife outdoor learning area.
• Roddons Housing Association enhance the capability and confidence of social housing residents, equipping first time tenants with the skills to deal with the financial challenges of managing their tenancies and supporting tenants moving in and out of work to effectively manage their household income and expenditure.