Louisa, 57, and Greg Tomlinson, 62, won a life-changing £300,000 on the National Lottery after a year spent shielding from the virus due to Louisa’s poor health
Image: James Robinson)
A couple who spent two “difficult” years shielding through the pandemic have scooped a life-changing £300,000 on a scratchcard.
Louisa, 57, and Greg Tomlinson, 62, peeled off the top prize on a Scrabble Cashword scratch card from the National Lottery to find they’d won £300,000.
Their C hristmas win came at the end of two gruelling years spent in isolation at their home in Ash, Kent – where they shielded against the virus while Louisa was vulnerable.
The 57-year-old was at a greater risk after having a stroke and treatments to mend a hole in her heart.
Her ill health had a significant impact on their finances and future plans, but the win has given them new hopes for the future as they plan to splurge out on a rural cottage in Norfolk.
Louisa said: “It’s been a really tough couple of years. I’d just started a new job when I had the stroke, and in treating that the doctors discovered that I also had a hole in my heart.
“I haven’t worked since, and Greg, a trained electrician, had to take a part-time delivery job so he was around to look after me as I recovered.
“I’ve always dreamt of owning our own home and to be honest, over the last 18 months I’ve thought of nothing else, scouring Rightmove for the perfect little cottage.
“I knew we could never afford it but the daydreaming kept me entertained while I was shielding.
“It now looks like that time on Rightmove was well spent because I know exactly what I’m looking for and where; a cosy two-bedroom with a kitchen diner – shaker style – a wood burning stove and a small garden in Norfolk!”
The couple’s luck changed after a routine trip to the supermarket for their big shop, and to buy a few bits before Christmas Day.
Just as they were leaving, Louisa gave Greg £10 and asked him to choose a couple of scratch cards as a treat.
Greg said: “There’s no special reason I chose two Scrabble Cashword Scratchcards but I’m very pleased I did!
“Once we got home we put the shopping away and, with a cup of tea in hand, sat down to play our Scratchcards.
“I was busy with mine when Louisa said ‘I think I’ve won £10,000’ then paused and counted the number of words she’d revealed again and then said, ‘hang on, I think we’ve won an awful lot of money!’
“I looked at her Scratchcard and saw that she had revealed 12 words which meant the top prize of £300,000.
“This sort of thing doesn’t happen to people like us so we checked, double-checked and triple-checked before I finally said, ‘I think we’d better call Camelot.”
“When they confirmed the win, we burst into tears,” he added.
The pair signed the back of their winning ticket, locked it away securely and then barely left the house for fear of losing it or it being gobbled up by beloved Golden Retriever, Teddy, Louisa said.
“It sounds crazy but I was actually too scared to think about it, and wouldn’t even look at the filing cabinet.
“I think we were in a state of shock and just couldn’t believe that our biggest dream, to finally buy our own home in Norfolk, could actually become a reality.”
Now the money is in the account the couple – who have five children and have been married for 22 years – have been scouring Rightmove to build a shortlist of properties to view in Norfolk.
“This really is a dream come true, it’s going to give us both a much better quality of life. Living in our own home, that nobody can take away from us, will bring peace of mind and I’m sure will be brilliant for my recovery too.
“Once I am back on my feet and we are settled in, I want to volunteer at the local hospital, to give back to the NHS who looked after me so well. Without them, I wouldn’t be here today for another truly life-changing event, but this time a very good one!”
Louisa and Greg’s winning National Lottery Scrabble Cashword Scratchcard was bought at Tesco Extra in Broadstairs, Kent. The Scrabble Cashword Scratchcard from The National Lottery has a 1 in 3.53 overall chance of winning a prize. The game costs £3 and prizes ranged from £3 up to the top prize of £300,000.