Fred and Lesley Higgins Claim £57.9 Million With Ripped Ticket
Last Updated: Thursday 2nd August 2018, 14:28
A couple from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, who won a £57.9 million EuroMillions jackpot have revealed how their winning ticket was ripped in half and thrown in the bin by a cashier who mistakenly thought they hadn’t won anything.
Lucky Ticket Bought in Laurencekirk
Fred and Lesley Higgins scooped the sensational eight-figure EuroMillions jackpot after matching the numbers 3, 8, 26, 33 and 45, plus the two Lucky Stars 7 and 10, on Tuesday 10th July. The retired married couple, who are regular EuroMillions players, bought their lucky ticket from a Scotmid supermarket in Laurencekirk.
However, at one stage it looked like their jackpot-winning ticket might be lost forever after Fred returned to the same Scotmid store to check their numbers. He was in the process of buying tickets for the following week and had two tickets in his wallet that needed checking from the previous seven days.
Winning Ticket Thrown In the Bin
Fred, a retired Audi administrator, explained: "I handed the ticket over and the young man put it through the machine, telling me it wasn't a winner. He ripped the ticket in two and threw it into the bin, as they would with all non-winning tickets.
"But this time, the terminal produced a chitty which said I needed to retain my ticket and call Camelot. The retailer immediately grabbed it out of the bin and handed it to me, not realising it was a winner before he discarded it!"
The ticket was torn in two, but it was still readable, and Fred took the ticket home before calling the National Lottery. "Lesley was snoozing so I thought I would look at the website to double-check the numbers”, he said, “and sure enough, the first matched, then the second matched, match, match - we had them all! When Lesley woke, I explained we had a winning ticket and what had happened.”
Lesley, who formerly worked as an account manager at the Montrose Port Authority, placed the ticket in a brown envelope for safe keeping. After speaking to the National Lottery, they were told security officials would have to visit them to confirm their claim was genuine and check the torn ticket. CCTV footage of the couple at the Scotmid store was also studied to make sure they were the rightful claimants.
Plans To Move Abroad
The couple, who have been married for 35 years, have since held a press conference to go public with their incredible win, wiping away tears of happiness in the process. They announced plans to move abroad in the wake of their jackpot win. Fred said: "We had a really comfortable life before the win, but we did have dreams of living abroad. We love Gozo [in Malta], which is where my niece lives, so we always thought we would get somewhere out there.
"But I have to say since we won, I've got my eye on somewhere in France and Lesley seems to be looking at a property in Barbados. I think it might be fun to explore a few places before we commit to buying anything."
The Higgins’ were still able to claim their prize despite having a damaged ticket, but this isn’t always the case. You only have 30 days from the date of the respective draw to claim a prize with a damaged ticket, and you must provide specific information such as the date, time and location that the winning ticket was bought. More information can be found on the Damaged Tickets page.
Another Scottish Jackpot Win
There have previously been three big EuroMillions jackpot winners from Scotland. North Ayshire’s Chris and Colin Weir scooped £161 million in a draw on July 2011 to become the UK’s biggest ever lottery winners, and Hawick-based David and Carol Martin took home half of a £66 million jackpot after it was split with another winning ticket in January 2016. Most recently, Tommy and Linda Parker, of East Lothian, claimed £25 million in October 2017.
The EuroMillions jackpot currently stands at £61 million ahead of the draw on Friday 3rd August and you can follow in the footsteps of the Aberdeenshire couple by picking your numbers from any authorised ticket retailer or by playing online.