An RAF veteran burst into tears as he celebrated scooping an £18m Lotto jackpot after he spent years telling his family that it was “just a matter of time” until they won.
Dennis Banfield, 87, finally matched six numbers on a Lucky Dip that he bought at a shop in Bristol, after playing the lottery three times a week since it began in 1994.
Wife Shirley, 83, told him to stop playing the lottery in the weeks leading up to the win but now Mr Banfield can finally make sure the couple’s daughters Tina Burgess, 54, and Karen Maddock, 51, are “financially secure forever”.
The family say they will split the windfall three ways, with each sister taking a third and their parents sharing theirs.
Mr Banfield, who was in hospital over Christmas following an operation for a leg infection, said his daughters would get more benefit from the money, but if he could help anyone else, he would.
Speaking at Tortworth Court, a hotel in Gloucestershire, he said: “All that has ever mattered to Shirley and I is that the girls are okay.
“We joke that it’s just a matter of time and we are playing the lottery for them, so that they are financially secure forever. To know they are is a wonderful feeling.
“We haven’t thought about moving house – we’ve lived here for more than 57 years – and while I didn’t think I would be interested in a new car, it is rather tempting.
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“Although with my dodgy knee I might need to get a chauffeur to go with the car.’’
Recalling the moment they found out they had won the jackpot, Mr Banfield said his wife read out the numbers the morning after the prize draw, commenting “Who’d have those numbers?”
Mr Banfield was able to say “I do”.
He added that his wife of 60 years went “berserk” and “fully up in the air” with excitement.
Speaking about what they might buy with the windfall, Mrs Banfield, who worked as a local government officer and as a shop assistant before her retirement, said they might replace their three-door Nissan Micra with something a little roomier but “not a Ferrari or a Maserati”.
She added that they might swap their three-bedroom house of 57 years for a bungalow but it would still have to have space for her keen amateur carpenter husband’s workshop.
Mr Banfield, who worked for South West Electricity Board for 40 years, said he was looking forward to buying a tailored suit while mother-of-two Mrs Maddock said she had her eyes on a Mulberry handbag.
She added that she loves her job in healthcare and would be going in on Wednesday but had “no idea” beyond that.
Mrs Burgess, who said she has three fantastic grown-up stepchildren and works as a business relationship manager, said she is a rugby fan and wants to watch the Lions play in South Africa.
Mr Banfield, who served in the Army during his National Service, said he would use the money to help people, and they all agreed that top of this list was donating to charities, including the Teenage Cancer Trust, in memory of a family friend who died last year.
Mrs Burgess added: “It is not just the tangible things that the win will give us.
“The win means we can all take life a little calmer, enjoy our time together and share in the experience without worrying about food bills, mortgage payments or pension plans.
“Mum and Dad always said they played for us – I can’t tell you how pleased I am they did.”
The winning numbers were 5, 8, 9, 10, 38, 53. The bonus ball was 56.