The number 13 has proved a super-lucky omen for a Somerset couple who began 2013 by scooping £1 million in the Euromillions Millionaire Raffle prize.
Roger Whitehouse and his wife, Kath, from Minehead, had a frightening end to 2012 when Mr Whitehouse was rushed into hospital with a suspected heart attack.
Doctors said Mr Whitehouse, 67, had suffered an angina attack, and due to previous heart problems kept him in hospital until New Year’s Day.
Mr Whitehouse, a retired British Gas engineer, who was born and brought up in Swindon, said: “I was in bed number 13 on the ward in hospital and was let out on the first day of 2013, which wouldn’t usually be lucky.
“I was staying with my son in Swindon at the time and on the way home I asked him where I could buy a lottery ticket locally as I knew it was a big New Year draw and I always buy a Euromillions ticket for the big draws.”
The following day Mr Whitehouse realised he had become a millionaire when he and his wife went shopping and picked up a print-out of the winning Euromillions New Year draw and raffle numbers at the supermarket.
Yesterday, as the couple were presented with a jumbo-sized cheque and celebratory champagne in the historic setting of St Audries Park Hotel, West Quantoxhead, Mr Whitehouse admitted that the shock of winning could have been a bit much for his heart. But he added: “I’ve got a very good family and they told me to calm down.
“At first I saw that I’d matched one number and a couple of Lucky Stars, so assumed I’d won less than £10. It was only when I checked again that I realised I’d matched the raffle selection for £1 million as well. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
“We had such a stressful start to the year and then it all turned around in one moment.”
The couple, who have two children, five grandchildren, aged from 14 to 25 and three great-grandchildren, plan to move from their one-bedroom flat to a new two-bedroom bungalow with a garden. They will upgrade their Ford Focus to a newer model but have no plans for a hugely expensive lifestyle.
“It’s our dream to have a bungalow with a garden where I can grow cabbages; and now that dream will come true. We’ll also be able to help our grandchildren out and start 2013 with no money worries. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate a new year,” said Mr Whitehouse.
And they have no plans to leave Minehead, to where they moved a year ago from Cornwall to be nearer family in Swindon. Mr Whitehouse, who enjoys fishing for cod, said: “We just love it here.”
Their winning ticket was bought at the Nisa store in Wingate Parade, Swindon, for the special New Year’s Day draw that created 25 millionaires.