A Suffolk groundsman, who became an instant millionaire, says the shock of tracking down his winning lottery ticket, almost a month after the draw, is still sinking in.
Martin Crighton, 44, of Boxford, who plays the lottery every week, had treated the August 15 EuroMillions draw like any other and forgot to even check his ticket.
But after reading in the Suffolk Free Press earlier this month about an unclaimed UK Millionaire Maker prize in the Babergh area, he started searching – and had the surprise of a lifetime when he found, buried at the back of his wallet, the matching code that suddenly made him £1 million richer.
“It was a ‘couldn’t believe your eyes’ sort of moment,” he said. “I was delighted. It was just brilliant. It was like ‘hallelujah’.”
Unable to believe his luck, he brought the ticket to his friend Shaun Davis, the general manager at the Brewers Arms pub in Polstead, in order to verify for him that he had really won.
“Martin has been a regular customer ever since I’ve been here, for about 10 years,” said Mr Davis. “He comes every weekend.
“When he first came to me with the ticket, I thought he was winding me up. We double-checked it and checked online as well, and then that was it.”
Mr Crighton, who is currently in rented accommodation, said his first big purchase would be to buy his own house, followed by a possible trip to the Norfolk coast.
Having worked as a gardener in the local area for 20 years, he explained he enjoys his work and intends to continue, but said his winnings would simply help to make life simpler.
“It hasn’t really sunk in – that will take months, I’m sure,” he said.
“In a way, life will be totally different, but, at the same time, not that different. It makes things easier, but I’m still going to carry on as I am.
“I’m going to spend a fair bit on a new house. I wouldn’t take any more work on. As the jobs disappear, I won’t replace them. My days will get shorter and I won’t have to work in the rain.”
He said he would buy a pint for his friend to thank him for helping him, to which Mr Davis replied: “That’s all I need – unless he wants to buy the pub.”