The British winner of a £76m EuroMillions prize didn’t know he’d won the jackpot for six weeks after stockpiling tickets in his van.
Andrew Clark, 51, said today he was taking early retirement after discovering the winning ticket tucked in the visor of his Peugeot Expert van.
Self-employed Mr Clark, from Boston, Lincolnshire, revealed himself as the winner at a press conference in Grantham on Friday morning.
Referring to himself as “the man who nearly lost £76 million”, he said he realised he was the mystery winner after he “finally gave in” and began working his way through his stash of tickets one evening.
He and his partner, Trisha Fairhurst, 51, have already bought a new home and two cars but say “the best thing about the win is how we can help all our family”.
The grandfather-of-three said: “It almost feels like some magical Christmas story, the man who nearly lost £76 million! For all our family, I’m very pleased that Trisha and Louise nagged me to check those tickets!
He is the twelfth biggest lottery winner in the UK.
Mr Clark and Ms Fairhurst, who have been together for four years, said they had already bought their Christmas presents and did not intend to upgrade this year’s festive plans.
But he admitted he had already increased the amount he had put in his granddaughters’ Christmas cards, leaving one six-year-old dancing for joy.
“Normally I put £30 or £40 in a card for the grandkids on their birthdays and that,” he said.
“Because of the day, I put £200 in her card. She seemed more interested in that, dancing around waving it about. She loved it”.
Mr Clark, who has known he was the jackpot winner for a week, said he has already bought one car – a Nissan Qashqai – for Ms Fairhurst and put a deposit down on a high-spec, £80,000 Mercedes, which is due for delivery on Saturday.
He said the Nissan dealer even said to them “are you those £76 million winners?” but they decided to stay quiet.
Mr Clark said he has also put a deposit down on a new four-bed house.
Andy Carter, Senior Winners’ Advisor at The National Lottery, said: “What a win for one lucky UK ticket-holder.
“This is the twelfth biggest winner ever in the UK and we very much look forward to toasting their win.
“Just imagine the Christmas this lucky ticket-holder is now able to look forward to.
“By buying a ticket for EuroMillions or any other National Lottery game, every player is helping to raise money for Good Causes.
“Around £30million is raised every week for projects across the UK, both big and small.”
The biggest winners on the EuroMillions lottery so far in the UK were Colin and Chris Weir, from Largs, North Ayrshire, who took home £161 million in July 2011.
Earlier this year, one lucky ticket-holder, who chose to remain anonymous, banked a £121 million jackpot in April while another took home just over £77 million in February.
Fred and Lesley Higgins, from Aberdeenshire, scooped the £57 million jackpot in the draw on July 10.