Two charity workers from Newry have become Northern Ireland’s latest lottery millionaires.
Retired couple Colin Bell, 64, and his 61-year-old wife Eithne are the founders of The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which was set up four years ago after their son tragically lost his life in a hit-and-run accident in New York.
The trust has helped repatriate the bodies of hundreds of Irish people who have died suddenly overseas since its formation in June 2013.
Last Tuesday, former teacher Colin and Eithne, a retired nursery school worker, were settling in for a quiet night in front of the television when their evening took an unexpected but remarkable twist.
“I was watching the early evening news with Eithne when the EuroMillions numbers flashed up on screen,” said Colin.
“I remembered that I’d bought a ticket for the draw but that I hadn’t checked my numbers so I took out my wallet, went online and was disappointed to see that I hadn’t matched any numbers.
“However, when I checked the unique Millionaire Maker code I was totally floored to see that it matched my code.”
In disbelief, Colin turned to his wife to tell her that they had just become millionaires.
“I told Eithne that I thought we had just won £1million and she laughed, thinking that I was joking. But when I repeated it and she saw the look on my face, she soon realised that I was being serious.
“Once the shock passed, we decided to go to my daughter’s house, Ciara, 32, who lives a couple of miles away. After checking the code and seeing that it matched, Ciara started dancing around the room and whooping.”
Colin and Eithne have six children and contacted them all to tell them the news.
“We’ll never forget how each of our kids reacted – we just never expected any of this to happen,” said Colin.
So, what do the couple plan to spend their £1million on?
“My wife would love a sun room extension on the house and a new car and I plan to buy a couple of 10 year premium level tickets for Croke Park,” Colin explained.
“But we’ll spend most of it changing the lives of our children – that will bring us so much joy!”
For more information on the couple’s charity, visit www.kevinbellrepatriationtrust.com.