A syndicate of warehouse staff scooped a £159,000 win on the National Lottery just weeks after being told they would be made redundant.
A senior supervisor at Crystal Martin’s warehouse in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, set up the syndicate as a way of bringing everyone together after it was announced the warehouse would close this summer.
The 46-strong group matched five numbers plus one Lucky Star in the EuroMillions draw on Friday March 6 to win £159,609.40 – which worked out at £3,469.76 apiece.
However, group celebrations have been postponed due to social distancing advice from the Government in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Syndicate founder Craig Rowland, who accepted the cheque on the group’s behalf, was out for a curry when two workmates called to tell him the news.
The 40-year-old said: “I quickly checked the numbers myself on the National Lottery app and then phoned my wife Natalie who was at home, to scan the tickets.
“I had four of the syndicate with me that night and they were all asking me while I was on the phone if we had won and how much.
“We were all gobsmacked but didn’t want to get too excited as the ticket hadn’t been checked.
“I decided I’d phone (Camelot) first thing the next morning, put the ticket inside the bedside cabinet for safe keeping and tried to get some sleep… which I didn’t.”
The father-of-two from Mansfield said he plans to spend some of the winnings on a new cooker door, with the rest going into a “special pot” to help his family move house in the future.
Once the winnings were deposited in his account, Mr Rowland decided to distribute them with a personal touch.
“I ordered a couple of cheque books and when the money cleared in my account, spent the evening writing them all out,” he said.
“It may sound a bit old-fashioned to write a cheque, but it seemed more personal.
“We are all gutted about the closing of the warehouse but the win is great news for a great bunch of people who I know will all find new jobs.”
He said the group would celebrate at a later stage as they keep a “safe distance” from each other amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have a giant bottle of champagne which has enough for a glass for every syndicate member but it is important we all keep a safe distance at the moment,” he said.
“We will keep washing our hands for the time being and save our celebration for later.”
Warehouse operative Denise Marshall, 59, was watching the draw on YouTube when the team’s numbers came up.
The grandmother, from Mansfield, said: “I started to panic, thinking is this really true?
“It’s great timing. Everybody is so pleased and for me personally it gives me a financial comfort blanket until I work out what to do with it, but I will be treating my four grandchildren.”
Another member of the syndicate Lynne Halsam, from Morton, Derbyshire, said the warehouse was “buzzing” following the win.
“The first thing I’m buying is a new living room carpet,” the 45-year-old said.
Mr Rowland bought 46 Lucky Dips each week for the syndicate at the Tesco Express on Alfreton Road in Sutton-in Ashfield.