A father-of-two who won £1 million on the National Lottery has said he switched on the television to watch the football before telling his family of his “utterly life-changing” prize.
Paul McDonald had just spent his Sunday afternoon putting up Christmas decorations when he checked his emails and found he had scooped the cash.
But, instead of rushing to tell his partner and two daughters, the 48-year-old distribution worker simply switched off his computer, made himself a cup of tea and sat down to watch the match.
It was only after the realisation had begun to sink in that Mr McDonald decided to go to the pantomime in which his five-year-old daughter was performing to let his family know the news.
Mr McDonald told the PA news agency: “It was a bit of a shock, I didn’t think it was real. I just logged out of the computer and sat down to watch the football.
It was a bit of a shock, I didn’t think it was real ... but a slurp of tea and a bit of football kickstarted me again
Lottery winner Paul McDonald
“I think it was my way of dealing with the surprise, but a slurp of tea and a bit of football kickstarted me again.
“I then logged back in to the account about 30 times, each time expecting it to disappear but always seeing the same winning amount. Eventually I took a screen grab and dashed off to catch the second half of the panto.”
He said he had promised his daughter he would decorate the family home in Bexhill, East Sussex in time to catch her part, which came towards the end of the pantomime.
He said: “It’s crazy – one minute you’re battling with extension leads and focused on putting up the Christmas lights, hoping to make it to the second half of the local Christmas panto to see your youngest’s performance, the next you’re a millionaire.
“I’ve worked all my life, I’m proud to be a grafter from a family of grafters, so to suddenly discover on a Sunday evening that I’ve won more money than most people earn in a lifetime is taking some time for the analytical side of my brain to absorb.
“The other part of my brain, the dreamer and adventurous side, is all over the win.”
Money doesn’t buy happiness but it does make life a lot easier
Lottery winner Paul McDonald
Mr McDonald said he does not plan to give up his job but intends to spend the money on family trips.
He said: “This win will mean we can enjoy little sparkles every now and then. Whether it’s a luxury ski-holiday to Aspen, Christmas trips to Lapland meals out with family and friends, or weekends away just for us, breaking out from daily life and making memories is going to be utterly life-changing.”
He went on: “My youngest doesn’t quite understand the value of money but my eldest, who is 16, was a bit overwhelmed, there were a few tears.
“She gave me some advice that I could cut down on my working hours, which possibly I might do but I’m not planning to give up work yet.”
He added: “It will make life a lot easier. Money doesn’t buy happiness but it does make life a lot easier, it gives us options and gives the children security and will give me more time to spend with friends and family.”
Mr McDonald bought his £1,063,516 winning ticket for the Must Be Won draw on Saturday December 11 on the National Lottery website, and the lucky numbers were 6, 13, 14, 15, 31, 33 with bonus ball 38.