A lucky nursery assistant from Ballyclare is looking forward to owning her first home after scooping a quarter of a million pounds on a National Lottery scratchcard.
Claire Marks, 24, couldn’t believe her eyes when an impromptu stop at Norman Watt & Son’s garage on Ballynure Road on her way to a work training day resulted in the life-changing £250,000 win.
“If I hadn’t been training that day, I would never have been at the shop at that time”, explained Claire, who was recently married to Clifford (32) from Ballymena.
“I asked for a number five Scratchcard, which turned out to be a Celebration Scratchcard. I paid for it and went out to the car to scratch it.
“After revealing a diamond above the £250,000 amount I just went into shock. I just thought, oh my goodness, is this real? I remember getting out of the car, shaking and walking back into the shop and asking the lady who worked there to check my Scratchcard as I thought I’d just won £250,000. She took the card from me, ran it through The National Lottery machine and verified it as being real and immediately we both started to jump up and down. It was a wonderful feeling, I can tell you.
“After calming down I went out to the car and phoned my mum. I actually woke her out of her sleep and her reaction was somewhat muted. But a minute later, she called me back to ask if she’d just been dreaming or had I just called to tell her I had won £250,000. When it sunk in she started to scream and shout with pure joy.
“I then called my husband who said he didn’t believe me, but when I asked him what motorbike he’d like, as he loves them, the news soon hit home with him.”
After receiving such amazing news most people would go home for a cup of tea or perhaps a glass of champagne but instead Claire decided to continue her day as planned.
She added: “I went to work as planned and when the girls found out I’d won they were in complete disbelief and asked me why I was still there and not celebrating at home. They were all so happy for me!”
With the news gradually sinking in Claire and her husband Clifford have decided buying a family home is top of their shopping list.
Claire continued: “Clifford and I have been married for a year and a half and have been thinking recently about starting a family so this win will help us to make that dream come true sooner than we had ever hoped. Being able to buy a family home outright is a massive life-changing moment for us both as we expected to have a mortgage for the next thirty years, so we can’t wait to go house-hunting.
“I’m also looking forward to being able to spoil my mum and dad a bit as well as my two brothers and their families. I think a little sunshine would be nice too, so we’re planning a holiday to Thailand, as I love Elephants, but I’m not too fond of air travel so I’ll build myself up to that one. It’s just so amazing to have so many options – we still can’t believe it has happened!”