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Dinner Lady Wins £1 Million, Waits Five Weeks to Tell Children

Dinner Lady Wins £1 Million, Waits Five Weeks to Tell Children

A South Yorkshire dinner lady has come forward to collect £1 million in winnings, after keeping her luck a secret from her adult children for five weeks. Paula Williamson, 59, was one of 40 winners of the special Millionaire Maker raffle on the 1st March this year.

The Barnsley lottery winner shares her home with husband Geoff, 68, and her two children: Jack, a 26-year-old bus driver, and Ian, a 24-year-old self-employed ground worker. Paula learned of her £1 million win while Jack was on holiday in Australia, and decided to wait for his return before spilling the beans.

Secret Lottery Winner Shared House With Sons

She told her husband, but kept it a secret from Ian – despite sharing a house with him. "I did tell Geoff, because that would have been so hard to keep the winning news from him, but we both decided we wanted to tell Jack and Ian at the same time. It was tough being in the same house as Ian and keeping it from him, but we did it."

The news was finally revealed when Paula took the family to an upmarket hotel for dinner, pretending she had won a lifetime achievement award at her school; she announced her lottery win with a bottle of champagne and the words: “Are you ready for this? You’d better be!”

New Millionaire Won’t Resign

Paula has no designs on retiring from her job at Hill Private Academy, but does already have plans for her £1 million win: a new three-piece suite for her living room, and a house each for Jack and Ian. “I’ve said I will buy these two a house – get rid of them. Get them out!”


Welsh Lottery Winner Sentenced for Fraud

Paula Williamson isn’t the only lottery winner to have kept their jackpot a secret recently – though her reasons were far nobler.

Lesley Thomas of Merthyr Tydfil has recently been sentenced, after fraudulently claiming benefits to the tune of £18,000 following a £300,000 lottery win.

Thomas, 49 won the sum after playing the Lotto in April 2015, but continued to claim housing benefits, as well as an employment and support allowance.

She has since expressed remorse, and repaid the council’s benefits contributions in full. The prolonged nature of the fraudulent behaviour, however, led the Merthyr Tydfil Magistrate’s court to hand down a suspended 6-month prison sentence and a 12-week curfew, enforced via electronic tag. Bench Chairwoman Mary Morris described Thomas’ benefits fraud as a “deliberate act”.

If you won the lottery, would you keep it a secret? For updates on lotteries such as EuroMillions and Lotto, be sure to check out our Results page; for help on playing, or tips and tricks to assist your number-picking, take a look at our Information page.

Published: Wednesday 10th April 2019

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