The sound of cheers and champagne corks popping could be heard across Basildon at the weekend, as lucky residents won their share of an incredible £2 Million, thanks to People's Postcode Lottery.
Players attending the winners' event at Towngate Theatre in Essex were jumping with joy as they found out exactly how much they had won. Maureen Stevens scooped the greatest share when SS13 2LU was revealed as the full winning postcode. She was presented with a whopping £400,000 cheque. "It's unbelievable", she said. "This will make life so much easier."
Maureen, 78, was joined by her husband Rupert and their daughter Beverly for the celebration, and although she has been using a wheelchair for the last two years, she managed to stand up to receive her cheque.
Daughter Beverly was thrilled to be at her mum's side as she received her winnings. "With this money, we'll be able to put pleasure back into mum's life", she said. "We've had a tough couple of years, but now we'll be able to give mum her life back. It's not easy for her to get around, but with this money we can afford to adapt the house. It's a figure I can't get my head around."
Maureen has been a loyal player for over a year. "I decided to sign up after I saw Fiona Phillips advertising, and I really like her", she said. "Wasn't it just a good decision?"
Maureen and Rupert, who have been married for 57 years, are looking forward to an extra special Christmas and will be celebrating with their two children and four grandchildren."Rupert will be cooking", Maureen laughed. Although 81 years old, Rupert still works part-time as a builder and would like to treat himself to a new car with his wife's winnings.
A total of 89 players shared the £2 Million prize pot at the Postcode Millions event, which saw residents in the postcode sector SS13 2 win prizes ranging from £2,045 to £400,000.
One winner, who won £45,010, also picked up the keys to a brand new BMW 1 Series. Michael Wood, 50, said, "After I won the car, I never expected to win all this money too. I would love to use the winnings towards a new house in Basildon."
Other winners included a father and son, both named Paul Cleavley, who won £22,505 each, and Eileen Davis, who walked away with £12,275 that she will use to visit her sister in Australia. "I haven't been to Australia in 30 years," she said."It will be a trip of a lifetime.I could never have gone without this win. When I saw the cheque, I tried so hard not to cry, as all I could think about was seeing my sister again."
This is not the first, or even the second, time a Postcode Millions event landed in Essex. Players in Brentwood shared a prize of £2 Million in August, with Chelmsford residents also sharing a prize of £2 Million in August last year.
Today's event saw a number of supported charities in attendance, including Missing People, Depaul UK, Riding for the Disabled Association, Dementia Adventure and Whizz-Kidz, which allowed them a chance to thank players directly for their invaluable support over the years.
Postcode Millions presenter Judie McCourt said, "I've loved being back in Essex for the third time in just 15 months. All of the lucky winners were delighted to receive their huge cheques – I could see the excitement building on their faces. We've had some lovely winners today, and I hope they all spoil themselves and have a fantastic Christmas."