FORMER WEXFORD GAA chairman Paddy Wickham left RTE €30,000 the richer after spinning the Dream Maker wheel on the 'Winning Streak' television programme on Saturday evening. But the Knockmarshal man admitted afterwards that he was too busy enjoying himself at the Davidstown/Courtnacuddy club dinner dance in the Riverside Park hotel to watch the programme, recorded just a few hours before, being broadcast.
Paddy was joined by wife Peg and daughter Mary for the lucrative trip to the RTE studio complex at Montrose on Saturday. They had an early start to the expedition, called by the National Lottery to be present for an 11 a.m. roll call. The visitors were treated royally with light refreshments on tap, though Paddy preferred to go outside for a smoke rather than enjoy the hospitality of the bar.
As a star of the show, the man from Enniscorthy was introduced to presenters Marty Whelan and Geri Maye, who interviewed him beforehand. He also had to receive a full coat of make-up before being allowed in front of the cameras for the recording, which started around 3.30 p.m. and was finished within two hours.
'I had more powder on me than I did when I was a baby,' joked Paddy. He recalled that the last time he was in Montrose was for the 'Up For the Match' programme on the weekend of the 1996 All-Ireland hurling final. On his return, after receiving his big Dream Maker Wheel cheque from lottery executive Dermot Griffin, he and his supporters were free to hasten back along the N11 to the dinner dance.
He was received by fellow club members in the Riverside with plenty of slagging about 'poor farmers' which he took in good spirit. All the excitement did not deter him from attending the Walsh Cup tie in Blackwater the following day, when he witnessed the hurlers of Wexford beating DIT.
Asked about how he might spent the money, the big winner replied: 'I have 16 granchildren and they are all advising me, and we have six of our own, as well as a few debts. It won't be long going.'