The corner shop on a Corby estate could be the luckiest store in the county after selling a £38m jackpot lottery ticket to a syndicate of bus drivers.
Staff at Convenience Express, on the Danesholme estate, couldn’t be happier after the 12 drivers scooped £3.1m each in Friday’s EuroMillions draw.
Lisa Dixon, the manager of the store in Boden Close, said: “We heard on the grapevine on Saturday that the bus drivers had won the jackpot and on Sunday the man who buys the syndicate tickets here every week called in to confirm it.
“We are all delighted. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of people and we are thrilled.
“All the customers are talking about the big win and it’s great news for the drivers.
“We’re so pleased the jackpot has gone to local people.”
The shop, which is owned by Uma and Sue Patel, could be on a winning streak.
Soon after the Health Lottery was launched recently one of its customers bagged a £500 second prize.
Lisa said: “It’s nice to think we’re a lucky shop.”
Speaking at a press conference in Corby, syndicate leader Chris Smith said the Stagecoach drivers - who each scooped more than £3.1 million - were happy that they had all won together.
Saying the win could not have happened to a “better bunch of blokes”, 34-year-old Mr Smith told reporters: “Times have been very tough for everyone - we were facing up to shifts being cut, which can really hit you in the pocket.
“This win means so much and is life-changing for everybody - people can live their dreams and help out their families.
“We are all friends as well as colleagues and I am happy that we have all won together.”
The Corby-based drivers - the fifth UK EuroMillions jackpot winners in 2012 - began their syndicate around three years ago and won a total of £212 during 2011.
Recalling the moment he realised the drivers had won last Friday’s £38,034,639.70 jackpot, Mr Smith added: “I always try to watch the draw show live, or record it, and check off all of our numbers.
“On Friday my partner checked half our numbers and I checked the other half - she just passed the winning ticket over and paused the TV on the numbers. We kept looking at it and passing it between each other about four or five times. We couldn’t really believe that they all matched.”
Mr Smith then called colleague John Noakes, 49, who came round to his house to check the winning numbers himself and by 1am on Saturday the syndicate leader’s house was full of bus drivers and their partners drinking tea.
“It wasn’t really a party - just everyone sat there not wanting to believe it until it was confirmed, talking about what we would do with the money,” Mr Smith said. “It wasn’t until the early hours that we realised it was just one winning ticket.”
The group agreed to meet at 9am on Saturday to call Camelot to register their claim and none of the syndicate due in work made it in on Saturday - with most admitting that they weren’t thinking clearly enough to go to the depot.
Other members of the syndicate whose names were released to the media at a hotel in Corby are Stephen Derrick, 53, Dave Mead, 54, Charlie Gillion, 65, Jim Patton, 55, Neil Tayton, 58, Alex Robertson, 57, Ally Spence, 57, Charlie Connor, 40, and 51-year-old Derek Wilson.
Their spending plans are said to range from houses and dream cars to holidays of a lifetime, but each winner wants to look after their family, including some who plan to fund further education and pay off debts.