South Wales hospital workers become millionaires

8 November 2017, 15:40

euromillions winners wales

A group of hospital caterers have scooped a EuroMillions jackpot of more than £25m - and handed in their notices.

Five of the six colleagues, nicknamed The Catering Girls, have been playing as a work syndicate for the past six years.

They have now quit their jobs at Neath Port Talbot Hospital in south Wales, save for one member who retired last year.

The group won a staggering £25,476,778.30 in total from the draw on November 3 - scooping more than £4.2m each.

 

Syndicate leader Julie Saunders, 56, asked her husband Alwyn to pick up the ticket as all the members were at work.

The following day, the couple were visiting her father in a residential home and he told her one ticket had won the jackpot.

Mrs Saunders replied: "It could be us as we haven't checked yet" - unaware the winning ticket was in her living room cabinet.

After returning home, she checked the numbers and called Camelot before informing the other members of the syndicate.

The five colleagues still working at the hospital all decided to retire from work after learning of their win.

"I've enjoyed working there for many years along with the rest of the syndicate, but now it is someone else's turn to take on those roles," Mrs Saunders said.

"We will miss many of our colleagues as we have all worked there a long time, but it is the start of something new for us all."

One member of the syndicate, Louise Ward, 37, only joined in October last year - and it was her numbers that won the jackpot.

"I was actually thinking about stopping playing earlier in the year as I have been saving up for my wedding in March and needed the extra cash," she said.

"Imagine if I'd stopped, we'd never have won."

The six syndicate members are Mrs Saunders, Ms Ward, Doreen Thompson, 56, Jean Cairns, 73, Sian Jones, 54 and Julie Amphlett, 50.

The syndicate began playing together after chatting one Sunday morning when they were feeling lucky.

Both Mrs Saunders and Mrs Cairns believed they would win big one day and potentially become millionaires.

The group play every Friday and bought their winning ticket from One Stop in Sandfields, Port Talbot.

Their winning numbers were 5, 12, 17, 33, 41 and their lucky stars were 4 and 9.

Mother-of-two Mrs Saunders, who lives in Port Talbot, has worked as a catering assistant for 12 years.

The grandmother-of-two is a huge Elvis fan and is now desperate to go on holiday to Las Vegas with her winnings.

"Dreams really do come true," she said.

"This win is life-changing for us all and the size of the win is still sinking in. We are all so emotional but very, very happy.

"We will celebrate together properly after the excitement has died down but I'm not sure we will carry on playing as a syndicate - it's time to give someone else a chance at winning."

Mrs Thompson, also a catering assistant for 12 years, is married to husband Nigel and lives in Ystalyfera.

She has three children and two stepchildren. The grandmother now plans to go on holiday to Florida.

Mother-of-two Ms Ward, who is engaged to Mark, was also a catering assistant for 12 years.

The bride-to-be, who lives in Port Talbot, is now looking forward to her wedding in March.

"I had 80 people on my list and was trying to cut down on the numbers as it was too many," she said.

"I can now have as many guests as I like."

In addition to splashing out on the wedding, Ms Ward will buy a new tumble dryer as her old one broke three months ago.

She will also buy new mattresses for her children.

Mrs Cairns, who retired from the hospital last year, was a catering supervisor for more than 38 years.

The mother-of-three, from Briton Ferry, plans to go to Las Vegas and play on the slot machines.

Mrs Jones, a mother-of-two and grandmother-of-one, is married to husband Andrew and is from Baglan.

She was a catering supervisor for 14 years and is still trying to decide what her first purchase with her win will be.

Mrs Amphlett, a catering assistant for 32 years, lives in Neath with her husband Christopher.

The mother-of-one plans to buy "absolutely everything" - from a new house to handbags and shoes - with her winnings.