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Hard-working couple become biggest-ever National Lottery winners with £184m

Joe (49) and Jess (44) Thwaite , a hard-working couple from Gloucester have become the country's biggest-ever National Lottery winners .

A hard-working couple from Gloucester have become the country’s biggest-ever National Lottery winners. The lucky pair banked the giant EuroMillions jackpot in the draw on Tuesday May 10, 2022 and are now celebrating with an astonishing £184,262,899.10.

Joe (49) and Jess (44) Thwaite from Gloucester bought their EuroMillions Lucky Dip ticket for the massive draw on The National Lottery App and so the next morning received an email saying they had good news about their ticket.

Joe, who is a Communications Sales Engineer, has been married to Jess for 11 years. Jess manages the business side of a hairdressing salon she runs with her sister. The couple have two primary school-age children, and Joe has two children at University from his previous marriage.

Jess said, “The win gives us time to dream which we haven’t had before. We’ve had one week to think about this and we now have time to share lots of experiences and go on adventures with our family and friends.”

Jess revealed that she was more prepared for the win than many, thanks to her father.  She said, “My dad played The National Lottery all his life and constantly dreamed of winning.  He would always ask us what we’d do when we won, how we’d spend it, who we’d treat.  It was a regular conversation and I feel like he was preparing us. Maybe that is why I seem so chilled, as I’ve kind of been ready to win for years.”

When Jess’ father passed away around seven years ago, Joe took on the mantle of playing The National Lottery.  Joe said, “The family always ask me if I have a ticket for the big draws.  While I don’t play every week, I do a Lucky Dip when there is a big jackpot.  Although I don’t feel like I’ve had a lot of luck in the past.”

Jess continued, “Plenty of times Joe has said to me that he’s not lucky enough and I should do it.  I’m so glad he carried on, and while my dad had prepared me, I’m not sure anyone is really prepared for a win like this.”

Joe bought the ticket at around 4pm on the day of the draw via the National Lottery app. Playing on the app means your ticket is checked for you and you even get an email sent to you when you win a prize.

The next morning Joe got up as usual at 5.15am to sort out the couple’s dogs.  Once the dogs were happy he checked his phone and saw the email from The National Lottery saying, ‘Good news, you’ve won a prize’.  Joe said, “I looked it up and saw we’d won.  I saw how much and I didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t go back to sleep, I didn’t want to wake Jess up so I just laid there for what seemed like forever. I spent some time searching for property with no budget limit, which was a novelty!”

Eventually the alarm rang and as Jess struggled to turn it off Joe told her, “I’ve got a secret, I’ve got something to tell you.”  Jess’ initial reaction when presented with the news was disbelief, thinking Joe had it wrong, the National Lottery app was wrong or that it was a joke.  Eventually she concluded that it wasn’t worth getting too excited about as it probably wasn’t true and got up to make a coffee and start their normal morning routine.

The couple called Camelot once The National Lottery Line opened at 8am and promptly had the life-changing win confirmed.  Despite being told they’d just become the UK’s biggest-ever winners, the pair still didn’t quite believe it and so carried on as normal doing the school run and settling down to work from home.

Jess, unable to keep the news in, arranged to meet her mum in the local car park before work.  When she said that Joe had won The National Lottery her mum started screaming.  Jess recalled, “She knew exactly how much right down to the ten pence.  She had meant to ring Joe the night before to check he had a ticket and had forgotten.  I told her it might not still be real but she was having none of it!  She said, ‘If Camelot have told you, then it’s real!’”.

The conversation soon became emotional as they both realised the impact the win could have for their entire family.  Joe and Jess now plan to support members of the family, and the sense of relief from knowing that everyone would be alright moved Jess and her mum to tears.

Jess said, “Just like many people and families across the country, the last few years have been hard.  My sister and I have tried to look after the business and the 20 staff, but times are difficult in hairdressing.  Joe has been working hard and we have always tried to put everything into doing the best we can for the children.”

The couple have only recently moved into a new home, which has delivered on the dream they always had for their children.  Despite needing a lot of work, the new house gave the family space for friends and loved ones to visit, as well as space for their collection of animals. With three dogs, five chickens, two gheckos and three ponies, two of which are loaned, the couple wanted to give their children a country-type lifestyle.

Jess said, “I was lucky enough to ride growing up and it is something we have always wanted to give to our children.  Like many parents, we stretch ourselves to give our kids everything we can.  I always wanted them to be able to get up in their pyjamas, put wellies on and go out and feed the ponies and they can do that here.  The fact the roof leaks and the house needs renovating was OK as it was the life we dreamed of for our family.”

Joe said, “I have been working hard and then doing DIY on the house and you realise that you are missing out on family time.  This win gives us time.  From 5am each day we are chasing our tails until we go to bed.  Just like any family, the diary is always full and the job list is long.  We don’t have money for family days out or holidays and we want to use our good fortune to spend more time together making memories and going on adventures.”

With support for family and friends top of the agenda, the generous couple want to take time to do things which up until now haven’t been possible.  Joe said, “I’d love to watch Gloucester or England rugby live with the kids but we have only really been able to watch on TV.  I’d love us all to get on a plane and go on a holiday, somewhere sunny.  It’ll be great to spend more time with my brother.  We both work really hard and rarely see each other, it’ll be amazing to now be able to spend time together.”

Jess said, “Our two children have always talked about going to Hawaii, I’ve no idea why but we can now make that dream come true.  They have always wanted a horse box for our ponies rather than the run down trailer we use.  Just to see their faces when we can make these things come true will be worth every penny.”

The lucky pair banked the giant EuroMillions jackpot in the draw on Tuesday May 10, 2022 and are now celebrating

The couple have decided to share news of their win so they can get on and enjoy their new and exciting life. Jess said, “I don’t want to lie to family and friends, I want to enjoy it with them.  Maybe, naively, I thought we could tell a few people and it would be fine.  But the list gets longer and soon you realise it would be a burden asking them to keep it quiet.  Telling people makes it easier.”

Jess said, “The win gives us time to dream, which we haven’t had before. We’ve had one week to think about this and we now have time to share lots of experiences together.”

The couple have taken top spot in The National Lottery Rich List.  They have pushed the anonymous £170M winner from October 8, 2019 into second place. They are the 14th UK National Lottery winner to bank a prize of £100M or more, and join the more than 6,300 millionaire created by The National Lottery since 1994.

The winning numbers in the EuroMillions draw on Tuesday May 10, 2022 were 03, 25, 27, 28, 29 and the two Lucky Stars were 04 and 09.  In the draw over 1M UK players won a cash prize.