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Welsh Miners Win £11.5 Million

Last Updated: Tuesday 15th August 2006, 16:42 pm

Welsh ex-miners John Ackerman and John Stinchcombe have a lot more in common than their first names. They have been friends for four decades, and also worked together at the Celynen pits in Crumlin before taking their well-earned retirement. And now they have become the second biggest Lotto winners in Wales after hitting a Double Rollover jackpot worth a staggering £11,544,846 on Wednesday 26 July.

The two friends have been playing the lottery regularly ever since it began in 1994. They usually play three lines of numbers every Saturday, but Wednesday games aren't normally something they are interested in, as John Ackerman explains: "We don't usually play on a Wednesday, but Pearl [his wife] nagged me to get a ticket because she'd heard on the radio that it was a big Rollover - I'm glad she did now!"

Despite buying the ticket for the Wednesday game, it wasn't until Thursday that John discovered that they had won a prize - and even then he didn't realise just how much they had won. "After checking the numbers on Teletext on Thursday morning, I initially thought we'd won £50, so I went to Woolworths on Blackwood High Street - where I bought the ticket - to claim the money there. They told me that the prize was too big for them to distribute.

"It was only then that I realised we'd won the jackpot. I really just didn't believe it. I rang John straight away and he didn't believe me either!"

John Stinchcombe says: "I've led a very happy life without much money and have never really dreamed of winning the lottery. It's just unbelievable we have won."

The two friends were actually next door neighbours until John Stinchcombe and his wife Julie moved to a new home nearby ten days before the jackpot win. But John Ackerman and his wife Pearl currently have no intention of moving away from their terraced home, and Pearl is adamant that she will continue working as a domestic assistant in a local nursing home.

"This is the house we worked for years to pay for," Pearl said. "I'm not going to leave it now. We've worked very hard to get it just how we want it and we're very happy here. I also love my job, and have already been back since the win - everyone there is really pleased for us and all the residents have been giving me their congratulations"

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