Winners of £3.6m Lotto prize say first thing they'll buy is urgent medical treatment for their cat

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
Gavin and Sylvia Odolant-Smith are using their lottery win on urgent treatment for their cat (PA)
Gavin and Sylvia Odolant-Smith are using their lottery win on urgent treatment for their cat (PA)

A couple who scooped a life-changing lottery prize have revealed that the first thing they plan to use the cash on is urgent medical treatment for their cat.

Gavin and Sylvia Odolant-Smith won £10,000 a month for the next 30 years on the National Lottery Set For Life game - the equivalent of £3.6 million - after buying a lucky dip ticket.

And instead of fast cars and big houses, the couple, of Battersea, south-west London, have instead decided to use the windfall to start treatment on 13-year-old rescue cat Phangan, who has had her cheek removed after being diagnosed with face cancer.

They have booked Phangan in for a previously unaffordable CT scan and will learn the results on Wednesday night.

Resuce cat Phangan has had her cheek removed after being diagnosed with face cancer (PA)
Resuce cat Phangan has had her cheek removed after being diagnosed with face cancer (PA)

Mr Odolant-Smith, 50, said Phangan "sleeps with us every night", along with the couple's other 13-year-old cat, Zia.

They had only been buying lottery tickets for six weeks before they struck lucky, and Mrs Odolant-Smith, 42, said she screamed so loud after discovering the win - at 6.30am on October 24 - that her husband "thought someone was breaking in”.

Mr Odolant-Smith, who manages 20 pubs in London, said: "I picked up a rolling pin; I was going to go downstairs to see if we were being burgled.

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"I was all blurry-eyed... then I thought it must be a hoax - it's been hacked, it's not going to be true.”

Catering company manager Mr Odolant-Smith said once the winnings were confirmed, she was “shaking."

She said: "Gavin couldn't control his emotions, I was trying to keep him calm but it was impossible, he was just jumping around all the time.

Mr and Mrs Odlant-Smith have won £10,000 a month for the next 30 years on the National Lottery Set For Life game (PA)
Mr and Mrs Odlant-Smith have won £10,000 a month for the next 30 years on the National Lottery Set For Life game (PA)

"Everything has just been a rollercoaster, ever since.”

The couple said there was little time to celebrate in the following days because of a busy week in the pubs with rugby fans queueing at the doors from 7.30am each day for the World Cup.

But they made up for it with a champagne toast on the rooftop of The Trafalgar overlooking central London on Wednesday, and plan to have more celebratory drinks in one of his pubs.

Mrs Odolant-Smith said they want to "stay grounded" and they will be spending their winnings on "securing the future", a trip to Disneyland for their nieces, and French lessons for her husband.

Mr Odolant-Smith manages 20 pubs in London (PA)
Mr Odolant-Smith manages 20 pubs in London (PA)

They will also be donating to charities including Wood Green Animal Shelter, where they adopted Phangan and Zia, a dog home in Wales called Tyr Capel Animal Sanctuary, ELHAP charity for disabled children in Woodford Bridge, north-east London, and Whitechapel Mission homeless charity.

Mrs Odolant-Smith said she decided to donate to Whitechapel Mission after seeing an advert for it on the morning of their win.

She said: "This organisation was added to the list because the morning I discovered our win, a message flashed up on the train asking Londoners to be considerate of the homeless and I took this as a sign that now more than ever, Gavin and I can be.”

Mrs Odolant-Smith added their long-term plan also involves setting up a sustainable interior design business in France, where she is originally from.

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