A lottery pool of shop workers who play the UK Lotto spoke today of their delight at discovering that an unchecked lottery ticket left in their office was worth £5 million (US$9.4 million).
The winning ticket was found in a plastic cup a full month after the lucky workers numbers came up in the Christmas Eve Lotto Superdraw, matching numbers 15, 19, 24, 36, 37 and 49.
The 12 members of the pool, who worked at Pennys clothes shop and Penmark Cards, in Allestree, Derbyshire, could not conceal their joy at a press conference this morning.
Pool organizer Margaret Rafferty, 49, only discovered their luck on Saturday after one of her colleagues heard about the missing jackpot ticket in the local press.
Margaret said, When I went to work on Saturday someone said they had seen a list of the winning numbers in the newspaper and was sure we had three of them.
I couldnt believe we hadnt checked the numbers and went straight to the plastic beaker at the back of the shop, where the winning ticket was still sitting after Id left it there on Christmas Eve.
Margaret took the ticket to the shop where she had bought it, where she found out about their win.
She added, When I got back to the shop and told everybody they just couldnt believe it.
Whats so incredible is that a group of us had also won £93 with a Lucky Dip ticket on the same draw.
Things really do come in threes because we won £20 on the draw the following week.
Houses, cars and dream holidays to Hawaii are all in the cards for the lucky members, who each pick up more than £400,000 (US$752,530).
Other winners in the month-long hunt for the winner include the good causes funded by UK National Lottery operator Camelot. They will receive the interest generated over the past 32 days while the jackpot prize went unclaimed.
A Camelot spokeswoman said the interest on £5 million was estimated at £650 per day, earning the charities almost £21,000 since Christmas.
The holders of another winning ticket in the Christmas Eve Superdraw were a young couple from Rhondda, south Wales.
Struggling parents Craig Pope, 20, and Claire Owen, 21, checked their numbers at 1am on Christmas Day after putting out the gifts they had bought for five-month-old daughter Seren.