Deborah Burgess, 56, from Leicestershire was “a millionaire for months but did not know it” as she was in hospital after falling ill with chronic anemia in August.
Rather than splurging her winnings instantly, she bought herself a second-hand car and sold her current Peugeot 2008 to her best friend Louise Smith for just £1.
“I’ve bought a new car. It’s not brand new, but a nice Hyundai. I wasn’t going to sell my car but my friend wanted to buy it from me,” she said.
“She wanted to pay the proper price but because of the win I sold it to her for just a pound. It feels wonderful to be able to do such a thing.”
The medical records administrator bought a batch of Lotto tickets back in August 2023 and won on the August 19 draw, but didn’t get around to checking her emails due to a hospital stay.
Recalling the moment she found out about her life-changing win, Deb said: “I had finally got around to catching up on things after a tough few months and was checking my emails at home - there were so many after not going online for a while.
“I noticed I had one from The National Lottery with a reminder to check my account because I was a winner, so I checked my account with my Mum there and then. I had the shock of my life when I did check my account.”
Deb initially thought the email could have been a scam, but was finally able to get around to having the win confirmed in October 2023 before jetting off on holiday to Corfu.
She said: “I asked my mum what she thought and, with neither of us able to think that clearly after such an incredible shock, she told me to call the police to check if there were any scams going around.
“I called them and they reassured me, so I then phoned The National Lottery and the man on the end of the phone confirmed the win was in fact real.
“Funnily enough, I still didn’t think it was real until a lady from The National Lottery actually turned up on my doorstep to confirm everything and pay me my winnings!”
“So, I guess that the moral of the story is to regularly check your National Lottery account. I was a millionaire for months but didn’t know it!”
Top of Deb’s wish list is a trip to Hawaii. She is also converting a bedroom into a bathroom for her mum and is having new garden fencing fitted after the gales tore them down. She is also planning on spending more time at her holiday home in Cornwall, using some of her winnings to further furnish and renovate the pad.
She is also going to help her son after he graduates from university this summer. “It’s an important year for Nathan academically but life after university is important too and with the win I can hopefully help him with whatever he wants to do.”