A couple who spent the pandemic in isolation are celebrating a life-changing £300,000 scratchcard win.
Louisa Tomlinson, 57, suffered a stroke and underwent an operation to mend a hole in her heart at the start of the COVID pandemic.
She and husband Greg, 62, spent the pandemic shielding and feared they would never be able to own their own home.
But the couple have seen a change in their fortunes after winning a life-changing sum after buying some National Lottery scratchcards from their local Tesco Extra in Broadstairs, Kent.
The parents-of-five are now looking forward to a brighter future, including buying a dream cottage in Norfolk.
Louisa said: "It’s been a really tough couple of years. I’d just started a new job when I had the stroke, and in treating that the doctors discovered that I also had a hole in my heart.
"I haven’t worked since, and Greg, a trained electrician, had to take a part-time delivery job so he was around to look after me as I recovered."
But things finally started to look up just before Christmas when they bought a few scratchcards and sat down to find out whether they'd won.
Greg said: "I was busy with mine when Louisa said ‘I think I’ve won £10,000’ then paused and counted the number of words she’d revealed again and then said, ‘hang on, I think we’ve won an awful lot of money!’
"I looked at her scratchcard and saw that she had revealed 12 words which meant the top prize of £300,000. This sort of thing doesn’t happen to people like us so we checked, double-checked and triple-checked before I finally said, ‘I think we’d better call Camelot.’
"When they confirmed the win, we burst into tears."
Louisa said she had been scouring online for the "perfect" cottage for the past 18 months.
"I knew we could never afford it but the daydreaming kept me entertained while I was shielding," she said.
She has now created a shortlist of properties to view in Norfolk and can't believe that their dream is set to become a reality.
"This really is a dream come true. It’s going to give us both a much better quality of life. Living in our own home, that nobody can take away from us, will bring peace of mind and I’m sure will be brilliant for my recovery too.
"Once I am back on my feet and we are settled in, I want to volunteer at the local hospital, to give back to the NHS who looked after me so well.
"Without them, I wouldn’t be here today for another truly life-changing event, but this time a very good one!"
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