New £1m EuroMillions winner Helena Panford, who is originally from Ghana, has told of her shock after scooping the life-changing windfall when her bus broke down on the way to work in Belfast.
Whilst waiting on the next bus to arrive, mother-of-two, walked to a nearby shop to kill time where she bought a ticket for the Friday EuroMillions draw.
But she was so concerned about being late for work, that she didn’t check the ticket until the following day.
Then she discovered she had matched the unique EuroMillions UK Millionaire Maker code in the draw on Friday 17 June to win a guaranteed £1 million.
“After checking my numbers I realised I hadn’t won the jackpot but my daughter in Ghana encouraged me to take the ticket to the shop where I purchased it, to be sure,” she said.
The next day Helena took her ticket to a shop in Belfast city centre, where her life was to take a wonderful twist.
“The lady working in the shop checked my ticket for me and the first thing I noticed was the shocked look of joy on her face,” she said.
“She looked at me and screamed, ‘you’ve won £1m’ and I immediately dropped to my knees from shock and started to cry.
“The staff were so great with me and were able to calm me down but to be honest I have never felt so happy and we continued to laugh and jump around!”
Helena, who has family staying with her at the moment on holiday, is Northern Ireland’s latest millionaire.
But she admitted that she always thought she would be a lottery winner.
“I have won small amounts in the past, like £100, but when I visited Ghana recently for a family event I told some family members that I felt sure I would win big one day and would be in a position to help them all,” said Helena.
“When I dreamed of winning, I had an amount of £5k in my head so winning this huge amount of money means that I can now help my
family and, in particular, fulfil a dream that my daughter has of coming to Northern Ireland to study for her PhD.
“I also have a granddaughter with a learning disability who I can’t wait to treat to a holiday.
“I want to treat myself as well and am hoping to buy a house and a car but I first need to pass my test!” she added.
Every week EuroMillions UK Millionaire Maker guarantees to create two millionaires – one on Tuesday and one on Friday.
For every EuroMillions line played, UK players automatically receive a UK Millionaire Maker code printed on their ticket. Helena’s winning UK Millionaire Maker code was MNR722401 NEWS and the winning ticket was bought at the Russell’s Shop 4 U on the
Albertbridge Road, Belfast.