Tuesday 12 December 2017

Lotto winning mum: "I won’t collect my €5m win until my son comes home

Lotto winner Lily Gallagher with her
daughter Melissa
Lotto winner Lily Gallagher with her daughter Melissa
Anthony: emigrated to Australia in May

Elaine Keogh

IT'S a big cheque, and the winner thinks she will need a little help picking it up.

The woman who scooped €5.1m in the Lottery over the weekend said yesterday she wants to wait for her emigrant son to return from Australia so he can join her when she picks up the cheque at National Lottery headquarters.

Lily Gallagher (60) revealed that Anthony (31), a qualified plumber, had to emigrate from Drogheda, Co Louth, earlier this year because he could not get any work.

He had planned to stay out there longer term, although everything is now a bit up in the air.

Anthony found out about the win in Perth on Sunday when someone stopped him on the street and said: "I hear your mammy is a millionaire!"

News of Mrs Gallagher's win had spread quickly over the internet, as her son told her -- using the internet phone service, Skype.

"I want to wait and see can he get back," she said, admitting she would prefer the pick-up to be a family affair. In the meantime, the ticket will be kept in a very, very safe place.

She has 90 days to collect the win but promised to fly to Perth if her son can not make it back on time.

"I will go over to him, he had to leave the country in May and it nearly broke my heart," she said.

Anthony was let go by one of the largest plumbing companies in Louth last year and in May -- after being a year out of work with a mortgage to pay -- he left for Australia with his girlfriend Catherine Matthews.


Mrs Gallagher said she will use her winnings to clear the mortgage on his house, her house -- -- in the aptly-named Moneymore estate in Drogheda -- and her daughter Melissa's house. She lives just down the road with her three children.

Mrs Gallagher believes a bracelet bought for her by one of her grandchildren just hours before the draw on Saturday night was a lucky charm.

"My grandson came in to me on Saturday morning, I was just sitting here having a cup of tea," she said.

"I was feeling down and he came in and said to me, 'Granny I'm after buying you a lucky bracelet in the market for €2'. I definitely think it was a lucky bracelet and I keep saying it to him," she laughed

On Saturday night she rang Melissa to come and double check her numbers after she realised she had all six

"Melissa said that when I rang I was ever so calm. I said come up here quick I think I have six numbers in the Lotto. She came up and checked it and then my sister came over and we checked it too and it was like, 'Yeah, I think Lily you have six numbers in the Lotto'."

"That's just the way it happened."

Mrs Gallagher, who had worked as a cleaner in a local school, said: "It is not younger I am getting and I used to say to myself I will be leaving the children with nothing. These are the things you would be thinking."

She added that providing her children with their own homes is "all I ever really wanted -- that's it really".

She said she decided to go public after realising yesterday that "sure everyone knows who I am anyway and where I live".

Irish Independent

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