A Look Back At 25 Years Of The UK Lottery

It’s hard to believe that the UK Lottery is 25-years-old already. What seasoned lottery players can, however, believe is that this fantastic lottery not only makes a huge amount of players incredibly rich but that funds raised for Good Causes have changed the lives for many.

In celebration of 25 amazing years, the National Lottery brought together winners from the past quarter of a century to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.

Let’s take a look back at the past 25 years on PlayUKLottery.com and look at 25 lottery winners and their stories:


The first UK Lottery draw was broadcast live on the BBC on 19 November 1994. The draw hosts were Noel Edmonds and Anthea Turner.

The first-ever UK Lottery number to pop out the lotto machine was number 30. It was followed by lotto numbers 3, 5, 44, 14 and 22. (Before the addition of numbers 50 to 59). The bonus ball was 10.

The draw was viewed by 22 million people which was approximately 40 per cent of the British population at the time.

Since 1994 the UK Lottery has handed out £71 billion in prize money with approximately 5,500 millionaires and multi-millionaires striking it lucky on this amazing lotto game.

First UK Lottery live draw


December 9, 1995, will forever be a special day for Elaine Thompson. The lucky 63-year-old from Killingworth near Newcastle won £2,704,666 on the UK Lottery.

Speaking to lottery officials, Elaine said, “I was sitting with my children watching the television and when the lottery numbers came up, I recognised the numbers and said we’ve won a tenner but after properly checking my ticket, I realised we had won millions.”

Elaine, now 63, said that when she called her family and friends to tell them the exciting news, “no one would actually stay on the phone long enough to hear her exciting news.”

“I rang my mother-in-law who screamed and then hung up. Then, I rang a friend who runs a pub and she said she was busy and put the phone down. I ended up going to my neighbours.”


On October 5, 1996, Deana Sampson, from Sheffield, told lottery officials that at the time of her win, she only £3.60 in her bank account.

The mother of two said life was pretty hard before she won the lottery. Not only did she suffer through several deaths of close family members in a short period of time, but her brother also unfortunately passed away. On top of all this, she was also under immense financial strain.

Then the unexpected happened. Her UK lottery numbers finally popped out the lotto machine. Her perseverance had eventually paid off and she took home the jackpot of £5.4 million.

Deana Sampson, first uk lottery winner


1997 saw Cheryl Brudenell, 52, from Stockton-on-Tees in County Durham win £916,915 on February 22.

Cheryl, who is a mum of two and happily married to husband Mark, said that she absolutely loves the singer Robbie Williams. Thanks to winning the lottery, she said, “the Lottery win has allowed me to indulge in my passion for Robbie Williams, but I’ve never totted up how much it has cost to see him around 40 times in concert, in places as far-flung as Barcelona, Vegas, Berlin and Belgium.”


Viv Moss, 68, from Newquay, Cornwall, won £6,048,499 on October 3 1998. She said that she actually fell ill after winning the lottery and said that it felt as though the whole experience was “like an unexpected death”. Hopefully, what she was trying to say was that winning the life-changing prize was more like a rebirth of sorts.

Viv used her prize money to move from their four-bedroom home to a five-bedroom home. She also swapped her eight-year-old Ford Focus for a Bentley.

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As you can see, our original website looked rather different back in 1998, with only one lottery on offer, one payment method and offering only one language version.


1999 proved to be lucky for Sam Lange, from Seaford, East Sussex when she won £1,575,878 on May 8th UK Lottery draw.

Sam told lottery officials at the time of her win that she had been saving £50 a week so that she could have enough money to see her father who was in New Zealand.

Thanks to her lottery win Sam visited her father for one month as part of a £5,000 holiday.

She also used some of her winnings on home renovations and was in a position to give up work and devote her time to being a mother.


Another UK Lottery winner who quit his job after winning is Ray Wragg. He wasted no time doing so and quit the morning after he won £7,649,520 on January 22, 2000.

Ray said that when he told his boss that he ‘had a win’ his boss said, “That reminds me, I need to check my ticket. I said ‘don’t bother Dave – I won the lot’.”

Ray told lottery officials that he and his wife Barbara had never left the country before the win and that the win allowed them to fulfil a dream of going on a cruise.


Tom Naylor, 64, from Wheaton Aston, Staffordshire, told lottery officials that he was “absolutely convinced” he would win the lottery one day.

Just like Deana Sampson who won in 1996, his dream came true when he won £15,528,286.

He too swapped out his old car. But with a bigger win than Viv Moss, Tom was able to buy two Aston Martins, three Jaguars, a Ford Mustang and a Land Rover Discovery.

Not only did he have all his dream cars, but he also took nine family members on Concorde to New York.

“When we saw three giant white stretch limos waiting for us outside the airport, it was an incredible moment,” Mr Naylor said. “I felt 10ft tall.”


In 2002 Sarah Ibbetson, 41, was on maternity leave when she won £3,013,767.

She said, “I was on maternity leave as a dental nurse when we won, and our daughter Alicia was six months old.

"It meant I could be a stay-at-home mum for her, and our other two children who arrived later.

"We were only 24 when we won, and the first things we bought were a Mercedes and a Porsche.

"We went into the car showroom, and when the guy asked how we’d pay, and we said debit card, his face was a picture.


Trish Emson, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, won £1,747,728 on October 25 2003.

Before winning the UK Lottery, Trish and her husband had been saving every penny they could spare for IVF treatment.

Trish said, “A few weeks after our win, we were invited to an England rugby game but the Champagne made me feel sick. Two weeks later, we discovered I was pregnant.”

"It was like winning the lottery all over again."


Ben Woods was 23 years old and living with his parents when he won £2,485,736. He remembers coming home from his shift and seeing his parents “white with shock” after they checked his numbers and realised their son had won the lottery.

“Mum and dad were sitting there, white with shock, because they’d checked my numbers,” said Ben.

“Dad said he needed to talk to me alone in the toilets and I thought: ‘What have I done?’ I was sure I was about to be told off.”

It was then that his father told him that he would “lend him a fiver” to go to the pub as he would definitely be able to pay him back now that he was a millionaire.

Ben immediately quit his job on the railway and jetted off with mates to a number of luxurious destinations including Hawaii, Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York.

He also splurged out on a number of fast cars for himself and his parents, including a "couple of Range Rovers" and Audis and bought himself and his sister houses.

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As the years progress, new trends emerged. The blue version of the site was created featuring a new lottery the EuroMillions, News articles, Tell a Friend and the Welcome Bonus were born!


Sarah Cockings won £3,045,705 on April 30, 2005, and one of the first things that she spent her money on was on “boob jobs” for her two sisters Alex and Emma, and herself.

Sarah Cockings, uk lottery winner


In 2006 mother-of-two Geraldine Bradley told lottery officials that her first thought after winning £3,570,063 on March 11 was that she needed to get her ironing done before the press came round.

While the couple celebrated winning the lottery with £9.99 KFC, once they received their prize they bought a new Mercedes-Benz.

They now live in a four-bed house with three reception rooms, a snooker room, a maze and a lake. Someone else now does the ironing.


In 2007 realising that she had won £2,543,691, Kerri-Ann Robinson said “everything went blurry.”

The 41-year-old, who lives in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, with her husband Tony and her two children, was a mature student studying for a diploma in business at college at the time of her win.

She said she purchased a Lucky Dip card for the Lotto draw as an “afterthought” while buying her daughter blackcurrant juice.

“I went from wearing costume jewellery to buying the real thing,” she said.

“I married Tony in 2010 in a dream wedding and walking down the aisle was one of the most magical moments of my life.”


Tracy Field, a “struggling” single mother was working three jobs at the time of her UK Lottery win. She was servicing vending machines, cleaning and delivering catalogues. On top of all this, she had also been diagnosed with cancer. On July 30 things took a turn for the better when she won £2,561,513.

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In 2008 the brown PlayHugeLottos.com site together with PlayUKLottery.com and PlayEuroMillions.com once again improved. Included where intro videos in the top left of the screen welcoming players to the site and giving them a step by step version on how to play the lottery. A whole host of amazing features like Rapid Play, Player Rewards and our Affiliate programme were introduced.


84-year-old Brian Caswel won £24,951,269 on June 12 2009. The lottery win enabled Brian and his wife Joan, 82 to move from their home of 48 years to their dream home.

As well as buying a house for each of their adult daughters, Mr Caswell said the money also paid for an emergency operation.

“I needed an emergency quadruple bypass and instead of waiting our daughter researched the top surgeon and I paid to go private – so the lottery has kept me healthy as well as happy,” said the happy lottery winner.


Hairdresser Susan Herdman, who lives in Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, in the north of England, could barely afford to pay her heating bills until on the 16th January 2010, she won £1,182,714 with the UK National Lottery.

Susan, who is a single mother with a son called Jake, said she still carried on working at the salon she now owned for nine months after winning the lottery jackpot.

She said: “I picked up a magazine in the salon and read a story about a woman who’d had a perfect life and suddenly died. It was a light bulb moment. I sold my salon two days later and never looked back”.

She decided to have a bit of fun in her life and turned her focus to ‘autograss’ racing and eventually won the national championship in both 2016 and 2017.

She now has a partner, Andrew who lives with her.


70-year-old Geoffrey Bennett from Blackburn in Lancashire lucked out with a nice UK Lottery jackpot prize of £3,530,707 on the 18th of June 2011.

Geoffrey had recently retired as a manager for Bolton Council when he won that nice lump of cash together with his 63-year-old wife Hilary.

They decided to do some serious travelling and have now explored New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, India and Scandinavia. They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary while touring Australia.


57-year-old Aberdeenshire lass Libby Elliot’s father Tony Elliot paid for her winning ticket when he was sick in hospital. She won £2,159,664 on the 18th of August 2012 from a £2 Lucky Dip.

Following her father’s death before Christmas last year and her four children now having left home, she lost 11 stone in weight since winning and is enjoying herself travelling around the world.

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In October 2013 PlayHugeLottos.com and its associated websites took a bold move and changed the colour again ensuring that the sight projected a fresh new look.


Local council worker Dione Buss from Bridgwater, Somerset, won a handy £1,888,630 on the 28th of September 2013 just after returning to work after being on sick leave.

Dione had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after her daughter Harriet had been born and she said that winning that jackpot prize had helped her health to improve a lot as she was no longer so stressed. Being stressed can make having multiple sclerosis even worse therefore her life was much better after her win.

53-year-old Dione lives with her husband Richard 54 said they have already visited the Great Wall of China and celebrated her daughter’s wedding recently.


Hereford man Matt Myles said he suffered a panic attack when he was handed a cheque for £1 million after his EuroMillions raffle win on the 8th of April 2014.

Matt, 33, said he quit his job straight away and jumped on a plane to Bali with seven of his mates which turned out to be the first of many ‘lad’s holidays’.

Soon after, he met his wife Stacy who became pregnant during their travels around the world.

They now live in a converted chapel with their son Jude and are expecting their second child soon.

Matt plans to purchase some more land close by so he can build a football pitch for his kids.


Northern Ireland lottery winner 58-year-old Anne Canavan, is still in the same four-bedroom house she owned before her prize win of £1,054,000. She won it on the 28th of August 2015.

She said she’d been washing her car on the afternoon of the draw and mentioned to her neighbour: “It’s about time someone from around here won the lottery”.

Since her win, she has spent £50,000 improving her own house. She also bought a further four properties as an investment.

Anne now invents and designs new products including seventeen innovations that are currently under development.


A man from Bournemouth, Hampshire bought himself his own business after winning £1 million from a scratchcard on the 9th of September 2016.

26-year-old Jamie Heavens, who lives with wife Danielle and their son Hughie, worked as a roofer for the family firm when he found out he’d won.

His uncle sent him to refuel the truck and while he was at the petrol station, he bought a winning ‘Millionaire Riches’ scratchcard.

He wanted to call Camelot to confirm he’d won and had to climb up onto the roof he was working on to be able to receive a signal on his phone.

Jamie still works hard and said he used £25,000 of the money to pay for his wedding.


Yorkshire mum, 40-year-old Bev Middleton from Bradford was in deep debt and ‘struggling’ to raise her four kids in her council estate house when one day she won a huge jackpot of £14,509,500 on the 17th of February 2017.

She had to live on benefits as two of her children are autistic and said she bought a house just “five minutes up the road” because it meant her kids could be closer to their school.

Bev said: “I rang to cancel my benefits and the lady nearly dropped the phone when I said I’d won the lottery”.

“One of the best things I’ve been able to do is send my son, who struggles socially, to private school.”

She said since her son Kian started at the new school, he is no longer bullied and is now on the school rugby team.

Bev, who lives with her children together with her fiancé Colin Brandon, spent £7,000 to have a gastric sleeve fitted which helped her drop in weight from 17 stone down to 11 stone. 


Yorkshire plasterer, 33-year-old Arron Walshaw from Ossett, called his second daughter ‘Lottie’ after winning £1 million on the 11th of July 2018.

Originally, he thought he’d been pranked until he compared the lottery results to the numbers on his ticket which he kept stuck on the fridge door.  

It only took him three weeks to buy a property together with his fiancé Ceri Hall and just a month after his win, their second daughter was born.

Arron said he still works but he is able to spend a lot more time with his two girls.


38-year-old mum-to-be Natalie Metcalf from Thornbury in Gloucestershire was 8 months pregnant when she won £1 million with EuroMillions on the 1st of February 2019.

Natalie and her fiancé Andrew Symes enjoyed both the win and the birth of their baby Poppy.

She’d gone into labour the next day, which was a month earlier than planned, just as they were viewing a house.

Natalie said: “I’m convinced it was the shock.” She said they named the baby girl ‘Poppy Marie Lottie’, who was born on the 5th of February, in honour of their win. They’ve now bought a new house and plan to get married next year.

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As you can see the current site is vibrant, easy to use and offers a huge selection of the world’s biggest jackpots from around the world. Amazing instant win games, raffles, Keno, scratch cards, casino games have also been included.

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