Local couple scoop £250,000 on scratchcard

Clifford and Claire Marks. Picture Simon Graham
Clifford and Claire Marks. Picture Simon Graham

A lucky Nursery Assistant is looking forward to owning her first home with her husband from Ballymena after scooping a quarter of a million pounds on a £250,000 Celebration Scratchcard from The National Lottery.

Claire Marks, 24, couldn’t believe her eyes when an impromptu stop at a service station, in Ballyclare, on her way to a work training day resulted in a life-changing £250,000 win.

“If I hadn’t been training that day, I would never have been at the shop at that time”, explained Claire, who is recently married to Clifford (32) from Ballymena. “I asked for a number 5 Scratchcard, which turned out to be a Celebration Scratchcard, I paid for it and went out to the car to scratch it.

“After revealing a diamond above the £250,000 amount I just went into shock. I just thought, oh my goodness, is this real? I remember getting out of the car, shaking, and walking back into the shop and asking the lady who worked there to check my Scratchcard as I thought I’d just won £250,000. She took the card from me, ran it through The National Lottery machine and verified it as being real and immediately we both started to jump up and down. It was a wonderful feeling, I can tell you.

“After calming down I went out to the car and phoned my mum. I actually woke her out of her sleep and her reaction was somewhat muted. But a minute later, she called me back to ask if she’d just been dreaming or had I just called to tell her I had won £250,000. When it sunk in she started to scream and shout with pure joy.

“I then called my husband who said he didn’t believe me but when I asked him what motorbike he’d like, as he loves them, the news soon hit home with him.”

After receiving such amazing news most people would go home for a cup of tea or perhaps a glass of champagne but instead Claire decided to continue her day as planned.

She continued: “I went to work as planned and when the girls found out I’d won they were in complete disbelief and asked me why I was still there and not celebrating at home. They were all so happy for me!”

With the news gradually sinking in Claire and her husband Clifford have decided buying a family home is top of their shopping list.

Claire explained: “Clifford and I have been married for a year and a half and have been thinking recently about starting a family so this win will help us to make that dream come true sooner than we had ever hoped. Being able to buy a family home outright is a massive life-changing moment for us both as we expected to have a mortgage for the next thirty years, so we can’t wait to go house-hunting.

“I’m also looking forward to being able to spoil my Mum and Dad a bit as well as my two brothers and their families. I think a little sunshine would be nice too, so we’re planning a holiday to Thailand, as I love Elephants, but I’m not too fond of air travel so I’ll build myself up to that one. It’s just so amazing to have so many options – we still can’t believe it has happened!”

The winning £250k Celebration Scratchcard was bought from Norman Watt and Son, The Garage, 4 Ballynure Road, Ballyclare BT39 9AG. National Lottery Scratchcards create an incredible 559,501 winners every day. There is a 1 in 4.15 overall chance of winning a prize on the £250k Celebration Scratchcard. The card costs £2 and prizes vary from £2 to the top prize of £250,000.