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Wickford Dad Thanks Football Team After £9.3 Million Lotto Win

Last Updated: Wednesday 23rd September 2020, 14:00

A jobless father from Wickford in Essex has credited his favourite football team for his decision to buy a Lotto ticket which turned out to be worth £9.3 million. Paul Long, 55, was so delighted that Leyton Orient had beaten Woking 3-0 on Saturday 24th March that he treated himself to a ticket, and he was later stunned to discover that he had won the jackpot.

Paul admits that he had trouble believing the news at first, and had to speak to a friend and ring the National Lottery helpline before it sunk in. Picking up his cheque at a media ceremony on Wednesday, Paul, wearing his Leyton Orient shirt and scarf, said: “I try to go to most home games and this was our first win since Christmas so I was feeling pretty chuffed — not half as chuffed as I’m feeling now.”

Paul is now looking forward to enjoying his future and has already put down a deposit on a new Ford EcoSport worth at least £23,600. However, his main focus will be on helping out his three children, aged 27, 24 and 21. He said: "I’m just a normal guy – I don’t want a Lamborghini. I would never buy something like a £100,000 car because that’s just not who I am. My kids will be secure for life and I can also help out friends. The future is going to be very rosy, but it’s not just my journey, I intend to take everyone on the journey with me.”

‘She’ll be gutted’

One person who will not be going on the journey with Paul is ex-girlfriend Julie West. The pair only split up in February and saw each other on the day he won Lotto. Paul said: “Let’s be honest, if I was with someone and you’ve just split up and they go and win £9 million on the lottery, you’re going to be gutted aren’t you?” However, Paul does not intend to cut her off entirely, saying: “You never know, I might take her for a holiday or a meal.”

Paul, who celebrated his win by adding an extra sugar to his cup of tea and watching Sunday Brunch, has been out of work for the past 11 months after injuring his Achilles tendon. He had previously worked at Ford in Dagenham for 10 years. He can now call off the job search after coming forward quickly to claim his prize.

Claiming Prizes and Going Public

Lotto winners in the UK have 180 days from the date of the draw to come forward and claim prizes, and can then decide whether to go public like Paul or remain anonymous. While some players prefer to keep away from the media spotlight and carry on with their lives as normally as possible, publicity can also provide new opportunities. Colin and Christine Weir, for example, who won £161.6 million on EuroMillions in 2011, were able to launch the Weir Charitable Trust and support local projects in Scotland after sharing their story.

There will be another chance to snap up a multimillion-pound Lotto prize on Saturday night, after the jackpot rolled over on Wednesday to hit £5.1 million. If you want to follow in Paul’s footsteps, you can choose numbers online or go to any authorised retailer. Good luck!

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