Champagne flowed after soup packers at a Spalding food factory beat staggering odds to scoop £1million in the EuroMillions draw.
Just ten weeks after starting their syndicate, the Bakkavor workmates – dubbed “the lucky 13” – defied odds of 20 million to one to match the Millionaire Maker winning code with a Lucky Dip bought at the Co-op’s Springfields Filling Station.
Syndicate members got the biggest pay day of their lives – each banking a whopping £76,923 – and now they’re planning to splash the cash on deposits for new homes, holidays in Barbados and Florida, paying big chunks off their mortgages, a posh wedding, new cars and a Dior handbag or two.
Seven not-so-lucky syndicate members dropped out before the raffle number came up. Had they stayed in, each of the 20 workmates would have banked £50,000.
Two winners, Sabrina Lindsay (26), from Sutterton, and Kayleigh Davies (21), from Spalding, were about to drop out of the syndicate and were left thanking their lucky stars that the win came in the nick of time.
“It was my last week of being in it,” said Kayleigh. “It was close.”
Kayleigh lives with her partner Shane Latraille (26), who works at Sainsbury’s in Spalding. The couple got engaged at Christmas 2013 and will marry at Springfields Events Centre on June 11 next year. She said: “We are going to pay a chunk off our mortgage and put the rest of the money towards a fancy wedding and honeymoon.
“I am treating myself to a camera – Shane wants a new car.”
Sabrina is starting a new job.
She said: “It’s my last week of being at Bakkavor so one week later and I would not have won it. It was my new year’s resolution to save for a house.”
A big slice of the wedge will go on the house deposit but there will be cash to spare to buy a car for her mum, Susan, and an Xbox One for little brother Thomas (7).
Sabrina said: “We are all so happy. It’s made all of our dreams come true. It’s a lot nicer than just one person winning £1million.”
Syndicate member Karen Taylor, who buys the tickets, was the first to realise they had won a million and bombarded syndicate leader Mark Waters’ phone with calls until he picked up at 5am on Saturday, January 17.
He said: “I had a dozen or so missed calls from her. She usually picks me up on the way to work so my first thought was she’d had an accident.
“When I eventually spoke to her she screamed down the phone, ‘I don’t know whether it’s true but I think we’ve won the lottery!’ She’d checked the numbers online but neither of us believed our eyes as we thought something like this could never happen to us.”
The pair then went to work but kept it secret for six hours from their colleagues until Camelot verified the win at lunchtime.
Joker in the pack Mark (50), from Weston, couldn’t resist teasing his workmates that morning by asking them: “How much would you be happy with if we won and what would you do with it?”
Mark said it was “pandemonium for a while” when they broke the news, which was met with disbelief before “the whole room went mad”.
He lives in a council house with partner Avril Barker and they’re thinking of buying it if they can get a good deal,
But first on the shopping list for Mark was a new lawnmower and strimmer so he can have the lawn in a fit state for his grandchildren to play.
Also on the list are a playhouse for his grandchildren, Rosie (3) and Leo (2), a car for step-daughter Emma, and a holiday in Barbados for Mark and Avril as they celebrate a friend’s birthday.
Mark said: “Camelot told me the odds of us winning were 20 million to one against – that’s the scary part about it.”
On Thursday, Camelot staged a Champagne reception for the syndicate as they met the Press at Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding.
Each syndicate member was soaked in Champagne as first Debbie Fraser (24), from Gosberton, and then Mark shook the bottles Grand Prix style as the cameras rolled.
Debbie (24) lives with partner Gary Rudd (39) and son Tobias (2).
She said: “We live in a council property so we are looking into buying it.”
Debbie also wants to put an extension on the house, take Tobias to Disney World in Florida and buy a new car.
None of the Bakkavor syndicate members is thinking of quitting their jobs.
Debbie said: “It’s a large amount of money but it’s not enough to retire on, unfortunately.”
She’s worked at Bakkavor for four years packing cartons of soup into boxes.
Syndicate member Sima Penikaite (24) said: “It’s good money in Bakkavor but not enough to make all of my dreams come true.
“Everyone dreams about winning some money but I just could not imagine I would be so lucky.
“I want to celebrate my 25th birthday in Barbados on May 9.”
Sima is thinking of taking on a mortgage so she and her boyfriend can one day own their own home.
Fellow winners were Steven Alexander, Catherine Jones, Keren Jackson, Ginnie Brewster, Tanya Owen and Eddie Owen. One syndicate member chose to remain anonymous.