A man has scooped an incredible £500,000 lottery win – a triumph he believes wouldn’t have happened had he not swapped a shift at work.
Jeff Etherington, who works as a machine setter for the automotive industry, said he can’t help but think it’s ‘fate’ after landing a winning Thunderball lucky dip ticket.
“I’ve always believed that one day I would win big,” he said.
“It’s taken 28 years but here we are, I’m heading into retirement with £500,000 extra to my name.
“I can’t help thinking it’s fate, had I not swapped shifts for that hospital appointment, I wouldn’t have been buying my lucky dip ticket at that exact moment and some other lucky person might now be celebrating instead.”
Etherington still plans to continue working, saying that he’ll use some of the cash to finally tie the knot with fiancée Kim Read, 60.
The couple have been together for six years and got engaged in 2021, and have five children and eight grandchildren between them.
“We always knew we would get married eventually but the money was always spent on something else,” Etherington said.
“Now that ‘eventually’ wedding can happen imminently.”
A keen fisherman, Etherington also said they’ve booked a trip to a holiday park in Leicestershire to celebrate.
“The day the win was confirmed I did have a look at marlin fishing in Hawaii to celebrate but changed my mind and we booked a four-night break at a luxury lodge, complete with hot tub on the deck, instead,” he said.
Read said her husband-to-be used some ‘colourful language’ after realising he’d won, admitting she thought it was a ‘joke’ at first.
“The logical part of my brain kept telling me it was a real ticket so must be a real win,” she said.
“Using the same logic, I decided to check the National Lottery app.
“Scanning my ticket, the app told me the results were not yet available, I must have scanned it about 100 times until suddenly it pinged and £500,000 popped up in the window.”
They confirmed Etherington’s winning Thunderball numbers - 1, 8, 25, 33 and 34, and the Thunderball 5 – the following morning, before sharing the news with family and colleagues.
“My boss congratulated me and then immediately said ‘guess that means you’ll be handing in your notice’,” the chuffed lottery winner said.
“I think he was very relieved when I confirmed he’d have to put up with me for a bit longer.
“When I walked into the workshop the following day, word had spread and everyone clapped and cheered, it was a surreal moment.”
He and Read had replaced their cars ‘relatively recently’ and have been working on home improvements – including a new kitchen, and a bathroom renovation booked in for next month.
They’d also already booked and paid for a holiday to Lanzarote, with Etherington adding: “It’s almost like we knew we were going to win.”
My pint’s on you, then, fella!