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Hotel syndicate planning special Christmas party after £1m EuroMillions win

Members of the EuroMillions syndicate at the Ye Olde Bell near Retford are celebrating sharing a £1m win (Camelot UK/PA)
Members of the EuroMillions syndicate at the Ye Olde Bell near Retford are celebrating sharing a £1m win (Camelot UK/PA)

Christmas has come early for a 13-strong EuroMillions work syndicate after they landed a £1 million win.

The group of waiters, office, maintenance and spa staff at Ye Olde Bell Hotel, near Retford in Nottinghamshire, scooped the prize in the UK Millionaire Maker draw on Friday November 3.

Members of the syndicate normally see a few small wins during the year, and use the money to pay for a Christmas meal in January, having worked together throughout the festive party season.

After scooping £76,923 each, the group are planning an “extra-special” traditional post-Christmas party, but in the meantime they are looking forward to a stocking full of yuletide treats, including a trip to Lapland for syndicate leader Darren Gargan.

The 52-year-old maintenance manager said: “As the song says ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ and to see the faces of everyone who always work hard, but will now also play hard this Christmas, means the world to me.”

Mr Gargan, from Doncaster, bought the syndicate’s winning EuroMillions ticket via the National Lottery App but did not realise for a week that the group had a winning ticket.

Describing how he felt when a message flashed up on his iPad, he said: “I had the usual email telling me about the draw, and didn’t really bother because I was busy at work.

“I saw there was £6.30 in the account and thought no more of it.

“The next week I was repairing the hotel driveaway when I had another email. I checked again and asked fellow syndicate member and sales office manager Lindsey to look at the email.

“She was sure it was a winner so we agreed I would call the National Lottery.

“I called and, unbeknown to me, Lindsey was already running up and down the hotel corridors finding the other syndicate members to tell them that I was on the phone and she thought we had won £1 million.

“By the time I’d finished the call, she’d also phoned members not at work. I’m not 100% sure what happened next, it’s a bit of a blur.”

Lindsey Fraser, 53, from Retford, said: “I was so excited, I was screaming and shouting around the sales office and then went off to find who else was working that day and was in the syndicate.

“Unfortunately only two were on site so I had to phone the rest. It was a mad but a lovely few hours, telling everyone the amazing news.

“The syndicate stretches across the hotel and spa, which is nice. We have the general manager and deputy general manager, spa director, people in accounts, a receptionist and of course Darren and myself.”

The syndicate at the hotel has been running for 17 years, with Mr Gargan taking over as its leader 15 years ago.

Mr Gargan, who is married with two children, added: “I’ve got lots of things I want to do with the money but I feel a few foreign trips are on the horizon.

“The first is a trip to Lapland with the family. I’ve always wanted to take a trip to Lapland at Christmas and it’s now top of my list.

“My wife has a brother in Australia and another in the USA so we hope to visit them too.

“As for the rest of the money, we’ll spend it on Christmas, our house and paying off bills.”

He continued: “The win will make such a difference to so many people, not just the syndicate members, but their families and friends too. And to win just before Christmas is perfect timing.

“Christmas is the hotel’s busiest period so we are putting our syndicate celebration on ice, but I can’t wait for our get-together, it is going to be very special.”