Over 500 neighbours from Rochester will be celebrating Christmas early after netting a share of an amazing £8.4 Million prize.

The windfall comes after ME3 7 was announced as the winning sector for our December Postcode Millions prize. The huge £8.4 Million windfall is the largest single prize pot awarded to date.

Ten neighbours scooped the largest shares after their postcode, ME3 7QL, was revealed as the full winning postcode. Nine lucky residents landed £342,375 each, while the tenth will be celebrating Christmas in style with an incredible £684,750 thanks to playing with two tickets.

Champagne Celebration

Among the winners were married couple Paul and Alison who were stunned into silence after being told they had each won £342,375.

Paul, a taxi driver, later said, "We didn't really believe it. We didn't know how much or who was going to turn up today. We've both won and it feels amazing.

"We really didn't know what to expect. It's life-changing isn't it? We want to help our girls. This secures us for the rest of our lives really."

Alison, who owns a day nursery, added, "It's amazing that everybody can have a lovely Christmas after the last two years being so tough. It would be nice to say we'll spend it on a holiday. Our holiday to Florida has been cancelled a couple of times due to COVID, so now we can make it extra special."

When asked how the couple might spend their winnings, Alison said she was looking forward to treating her family over the holidays, "We've got a son, two daughters and five grandkids. I don't think it'll change our plans for a family Christmas, but it means they might all get an extra gift, who knows?"

The mum-of-three said she planned to spoil herself as well, "I’m going to get a Louis Vuitton handbag."

The pair were keen on celebrating the good news as they already had planned to meet friends at Ascot before learning of their win. Alison said, "We're going to meet friends at the races but will have to start with a glass of champagne now!"

First Class Result

Marion was another to receive a knock at the door and couldn't believe her eyes when her prize cheque was revealed. She gasped and exclaimed, "Oh my God! Oh no. Oh my goodness me. It means a lot for me because I can help my children and my grandchildren with that amount."

Marion was joined by her partner Allen. The couple said the funds would help them visit one of their children for the first time in almost three years. Marion said, "My eldest son lives in Australia but we can't get there at the moment, because of COVID. But when we go, we'll go first class!"

With six grandchildren, Marion added that the windfall would help her treat the rest of her family as well. She said, "It's life-changing for us and it's life-changing for my children. It means the absolute world for us. I can't wait to tell the children. We never thought in our wildest dreams we'd be a winner. Never. I still can’t get over it. I think I need a stiff drink!"

Along with home renovations, Marion joked that the win meant that her husband could get her another gift for the festive season, "He bought me a new ring for Christmas which was silver, but we might need to up the ante a bit and upgrade to white gold!"

The win came on a significant day for Marion as she learned of the win shortly before attending a memorial service for her brother. Marion said, "I'm going to my brother's memorial service, but we'll celebrate his life. We lost him in August and he was cremated and sent out to sea, as he loved the sea. His daughter picked the date as today is his birthday and then when I found out the lottery was coming, I thought, 'Thank you, Murray.'"

Weak At The Knees

Simon couldn't believe it when he found out he was a winner. He said, "Oh my gosh! Have you got a medic handy? I've just gone weak at the knees. That is fantastic. We can help a few people with that. I'm speechless, lost for words!"

After the news began to sink in Simon, joined by his wife Carol, added, "We wondered if it was real. We never win anything, the most has been a tenner! It's a phenomenal amount of money, a life-changing amount."

Carol added, "A great way to kick off the new year. It will be lovely to go on a holiday when things start to open up again. It's far exceeded our expectations. The amount of money that's been shared out today is phenomenal. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!"

When asked what they would use the winnings for, Simon, who is a retired teacher said, "We'll take stock first and then work out who we can help. It's mind boggling to get round that kind of sum and what it can do for you.

"It's high on our list that our family get a better start and achieve the things they want to. We're thinking of taking our daughter on holidays, she's worked all the way through the lockdowns in a nursery. It might go towards our daughter moving into a new house or our son adding an extension."

World Is My Oyster

Stephen and his partner Tracey were left stunned by the prize win. Surrounded by family members, a huge cheer erupted when the couple's prize cheque was revealed.

Tracey, who works for a distribution company, said the win would allow her to change her retirement plans. She said, "I'm up at half past four every morning so this could be life-changing for me. I want to go part time and I was going to retire in four- or five-year's time but it might come earlier now."

The couple were also hoping to spend some of the winnings on their family. Tracey added, "My youngest son, his wife and the two babies live with us and are saving for a deposit and I think we'll help them and boost their deposit. The middle one is renovating at the moment and my eldest is getting married."

When asked if there was anything they wanted to get for themselves, Tracey said that along with a holiday to Mexico some home improvements were on the cards. She said, "We want a new bathroom and to get a driveway done and all things we haven't been able to do."

Tracey said the first thing the couple were going to do was open a bottle of champagne and joked that a shopping spree might be in order, "I like a bit of shopping, the world is going to be my oyster now!"

Six Figure Surprise

Great-grandmother Betty was another neighbour left awestruck after winning big. The lottery surprised her with a cheque for £342,275 on her front doorstep leaving the pensioner teary-eyed. She said, "Oh no I haven't. Oh, my goodness, I can't believe it. Oh, my goodness me! It hasn’t sunk in yet, I don't think. How wonderful! What a wonderful thing to happen at Christmas."

Betty was joined by her daughter Sharon who was also shocked when she found out she'd won a Postcode Sector prize of £7,522.

Betty said she misread her winning prize sum to begin with until realising she had won the six-figure sum, "I never ever, ever, thought I would win that much, I don't think I even read it properly, I thought it was £3,000 at first!"

Sharon added, "It's so overwhelming. You see it on television and think it'll never happen and then the lottery turned up."

Betty is now on the lookout for a new car after the huge cash windfall. She said, "I was trying to get a newer car because I have an old one, I'll be able to pay a little bit more now."

Sharon added, "My mum is still quite independent at 85 and she likes to zoom around everywhere, she's a trendy great-grandma!"

Lifting A Weight

Jodi was left shocked with her win and after receiving her cheque the mum-of-two said, "We’re all going to have a lovely Christmas!"

Jodi, who works as an administrator said, "You never really think it's going to be you. I can't believe it. It just means the world; everyone struggles and there's always a weight on your shoulders and it's just been lifted. This is going to change our lives."

"I'm so excited, I can't even comprehend how much money that is. It's more than we could have dreamed of really."

Jodi’s first plans for her winnings were for her children, with a special present for her daughter in mind, "I'll buy a car for our daughter for when she passes. She's learning at the moment we can pay for all her lessons get her a car and get her insured."

There was one big purchase the Jodi thought she would make for herself as well, "I’ve always wanted a conservatory and I might be able to get one now!"

Success For The Sector

The remaining 537 winners in the wider postcode sector received different cheque amounts depending on the number of tickets they played with. There were 468 players with a single ticket who each won £7,522, and 59 players with two tickets who each won £15,044. Ten players with three tickets each won £22,566.

People's Postcode Lottery Presenter Danyl Johnson sent his congratulations to all the winners. He said, "What lovely news for our winners in Rochester! I couldn't have been happier to bring them this news, especially just before Christmas. The community here seems so lovely and I'm sure this surprise will make the holidays even more special for them."

If you'd like to see more from Rochester, watch some clips of our Postcode Millions winners on Facebook.

Supporting Good Causes

Today's prize is part of a draw promoted by Postcode International Trust, which provides regular grant funding to organisations that work to alleviate poverty, hunger and enable food security. Supported charities include Action Against Hunger, British Red Cross and Mary's Meals.

With People's Postcode Lottery, 33% of the ticket price goes to Charities. Our amazing players have raised more than £800 Million for thousands of good causes.

Have you signed up to play? If you aren't playing yet, check out How It Works and the wonderful Prizes that can be won.

Danyl meeting our wonderful Postcode Millions winners in Rochester

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