How lucky elephants got this winner through difficult times
By Kate Northrop
SUNDERLAND, United Kingdom — A pharmacy assistant won a hefty £100,000 scratch-off prize mere days after getting the all-clear from a melanoma that developed in her eye during lockdown.
Good karma could not have had better timing for Louise Tate, 42, of Sunderland. Just days after receiving word that she officially beat the cancer that took her left eye, she discovered she won £100,000 on a National Lottery scratch-off game.
During the pandemic, Tate was diagnosed with a melanoma in her left eye. With no other alternative, she underwent surgery to remove it and had a prosthetic one fitted earlier this year.
Tate developed a love of elephants during her treatment, believing that they were the perfect good-luck bearers to help her through one of the most challenging times in her life.
"The last six months have been incredibly difficult at times, and my family and friends have been hugely supportive and rallied 'round," Tate told Chronicle Live. "At one point, some friends suggested that elephants bring you luck."
"I felt I needed enormous amounts of luck, so I started to collect them," the cancer survivor explained to the Lottery. "Every time I went out, I would try to buy an elephant, and friends would arrive at the house with elephant ornaments for me too. I now have almost 30 throughout my home."
That's why Tate knew she had to try out the Lottery's £2 "Lions Share Doubler" instant game when she saw it featured the lucky animals.
"I just couldn't quite believe it when I bought the scratchcard and I scratched three 'very lucky' elephants, scooping me the top prize of £100k," Tate recalled. "I actually don't think this amazing news has fully sunk in."
Tate had stopped at a Morrisons supermarket at the William Doxford Centre in Sunderland while she waited for her husband, Stuart, 45, to finish work as a parts advisor in a garage. There, she picked up a ticket from the "Lions Share Doubler" game and went back to the car to scratch it off.
Winning the game's top prize confirmed that elephants are indeed lucky after all.
She shouted at her husband to stop the car when she revealed three matching elephants in the play area.
"Stuart just thought I was winding him up and kept saying, 'You have got it wrong,'" Tate recalled. "I kept saying, 'No, I haven't — you really must stop the car.' He did eventually pull over, and I don't know who was more shocked. I think we both went through every emotion, from joy to shock to breaking down in tears. Neither of us could believe it."
Tate admitted that it wasn't until the couple called Camelot, the operator of the National Lottery, and saw the six-figure sum in their bank account that they started to believe that they had really won the lottery.
While the winnings will certainly help the Tate's pay off their mortgage and fund a family vacation to Florida with their 10-year-old daughter and six-year-old son, the winner said she plans on treating herself to a very special gold elephant pendant and may even adopt an elephant.
The couple also said that they don't intend to move or give up work but will use a portion of the money to do some renovation projects on their home that they were not able to previously afford.
Tate won one of the seven top prizes of £100,000 available at the start of the game. The £2 "Lions Share Doubler" game also features five second prizes of £5,000 and 13 third prizes of £1,000. According to the National Lottery, the overall odds of winning any prize in the game are about 1 in 4.08.