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As you would expect of a lottery syndicate based at a university, they used a formula to select their lottery numbers for last Saturday, and won a jackpot worth £5.3m.

There are 17 members of the syndicate, and as theirs was the only winning ticket, each member will now be £311,755 richer. The syndicate is made up of employees of Imprint Design, the Bradford University and College’s Print and Design department, and they are only too happy to share their secret, which came about after unsuccessfully playing the lottery for eight years.

Previously each syndicate member had randomly chosen a number, though often it was a family birthday or significant date. The new system, introduced four years ago saw all 49 numbers being written on pieces of paper and placed in a box. A syndicate member would then pick out six pieces of paper and these would form the first line on the ticket. These “used” pieces of paper then went into a second box. This was repeated eight times, using 48 of the 49 available numbers, and the remaining number was used to start a new line by anther syndicate member who then selected five more pieces of paper from the second box. Simple! This continued until 17 lines had been selected (one each for every member of the syndicate) and more importantly it meant that every number from 1-49 had been selected at least twice per ticket, and four numbers were selected three times.

Now checking seventeen lines could be a bit tiresome, and a mere human could miss the vital winning combination, so this syndicate set up a computer programme to check their lines. This system in itself took a while to perfect, but now they have won, who cares! Of course they could have just had their ticket checked at by the lottery machine, but that wouldn’t have been so much fun!

Barry Waterhouse is the syndicate’s leader and he says that after 12 long years of playing the lottery it’s great that their new system has done the business. They felt that because they were using all the numbers for each draw that they stood a better chance of winning. The syndicate’s youngest member plans to buy a Bradford City Football Club season ticket and the city ground was where the syndicate chose to have their publicity photo taken. One of the syndicate’s members received a text on Saturday night telling him the good news, and he now plans to take early retirement from the university, as does another member who will be setting up her own business selling soaps.

Saturday 21 October 2006's winning numbers were 15,18,23,31,37,49 and the bonus ball was 38.