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Scratchcard winners thank their cat for £1m prize

Credit: PA Images

A couple who won £1 million have thanked their cat Shortcake for the win - as they only picked up the scratchcard after rushing out to buy pet food.

Andrew and Paula Hancock, who run a catering business together, forgot their cat's dinner so Andrew went to a local petrol station to fetch it.

He also picked up a scratchcard while he was there - and won one of the four £1 million jackpot prizes.

In the rush of excitement, Mr Hancock again forgot to buy six-year-old Shortcake's food so the pet, known in the family as "Shorty", ended up with ham later that evening.

After getting home and telling his family, the winning ticket was hidden in a Gordon Ramsay cookbook for safe-keeping until National Lottery's officials could validate the win.

Credit: PA Images

"If it wasn't for Shortcake, we wouldn't be millionaires."

– Andrew Hancock

Andrew, 46, and Paula, 43, who live near Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, now plan on enjoying some time off with a holiday to Australia.

But so far, the only purchase they have made is a new phone for their 12-year-old son Xavier.

Asked if "Shorty" had brought them much luck before, Mr Hancock said: "Not particularly. He's just a normal cat."

Explaining how the win came about, Mr Hancock said:

"So I went into the petrol station, filled up, got a scratchcard and went back to the car and scratched it in the car - and still didn't get the cat food.

"So I scratched the card and I'm looking at the card, in disbelief.

"So I thought, I'll get straight home and go out for the cat food and get that later on.

"Which we didn't, so he had ham. He was quite happy with that."<

– Andrew Hancock
Credit: PA Images

Mrs Hancock said she thought something was wrong when her husband came home shouting "Paula, Paula".

But when he claimed to have won a million, she said to him: "Let's have a look?" and he replied: "I know how a scratchcard works!"

She revealed that Mr Hancock had twice won £100 in the two preceding weeks with same type of scratchcard, as he added it was a case of "third time lucky".

The couple ended up "drinking Pimm's" with close family into the early hours, although Mrs Hancock still got up to work at 6.30am.