Kent couple celebrate £500,000 lottery win with a cup of tea, before drinking town out of Bollinger
A grandad from Rochester thought his phone had broken when it flashed up a £500,000 lottery win.
Len Parsons was checking his numbers on the app on December 16th when the confusion began; “As I scanned the ticket I didn’t get the usual message and instead saw a big £500,000 flashing back at me," he said.
"I assumed my phone had a gremlin so came out of the app and tried again but received the same message.
"Totally confused, I bought the numbers up via the website, and cross checked them with my Thunderball ticket.
"It was then I suddenly realised there were no gremlins and I had in fact won half a Million pounds!”
WATCH: Ken and Hazel talk about how the win will change their lives.
Wasting no time, Len, 66, announced his retirement with immediate effect and, with his wife of 46 years Hazel, 64, shared the wonderful news with family.
The ensuing celebrations even lead to a brief shortage of Bollinger in the local area.
Hazel laughs, “We’re your usual hardworking family but when you discover something as amazing as this, it’s worth celebrating in style and that’s what we did.
"We knew we’d probably taken the celebrations a little too far when all our local shops were out of our favourite Champagne brand!”
Already semi-retired from his role in the catering trade, and in almost constant pain from arthritis, Len is now looking forward to his new way of life, taking things easier and hopes to spend a little more time on his passion, pythons.
Len said, “We’ve worked pretty hard all our lives; at one point I was doing three jobs when the children were younger.
"While Hazel is very happy to carry on in her sales role in the building trade, I’m over the moon to take early retirement!
"Although I have a sneaky suspicion, with the new renovation plans that this win will make possible, I’ll be busier than ever.
“But when there are spare moments, I will be at the end of the garden in the adapted summerhouse caring for my collection of pythons.
"I grew up in outback Australia and I think that’s where my love of snakes has come from. Some people believe snakes are lucky, I don’t tend to believe that but when I look at that giant cheque for £500,000 maybe there is some truth in it after all!”
The first Hazel, who was happily fast asleep and oblivious to the excitement, knew of the win was Len bursting into the bedroom, switching on the light, slapping her on the shoulder, and shouting ‘Wake up, I’ve won!’.
Hazel said, “Len’s absolute belief that he was going to win big is a bit of a long running joke.
"Often when he has bought a ticket he’ll go to bed saying ‘when I wake up in the morning I’m going to be rich’ so when he did wake me up I didn’t really believe him and assumed it was a few pounds.
"We checked the numbers on the ticket again and I then realised that it was certainly a bit more than a few pounds, so we celebrated with a cup of tea.”
"The following morning Len and Hazel were able to confirm the win and share the wonderful news with their immediate family, who are at the heart of their future plans.
Len said, “Our son lives in Australia, and while we have been able to visit a couple of times over the years it’s a huge undertaking, especially as we were nearing retirement.
"We were saving up to go in 2024 but now, there’s no saving up and we will be going in 2023 and what’s more, we’ll be going Business Class!
“Closer to home, our two daughters and their families will be looked after to ensure that they too can enjoy the wonderful feeling this win has brought and the peace of mind a few quid in the bank can bring.”
Len bought his winning Thunderball ticket from The Co-operative in Strood.
The winning Thunderball numbers on Friday 16 December were; 1, 6, 10, 28, 39 and the Thunderball was 14.