Grandad from Rochester wins £500k Thunderball jackpot

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Grandad from Rochester wins £500k Thunderball jackpot
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A stunned grandad thought there was a glitch on his phone when the National Lottery app flashed up that he'd won big.

But reality soon dawned on Len Parsons when he turned it off and on and the message appeared again.

The 66-year-old had just won £500,000, not that wife Hazel believed him at first.

The Rochester resident has always played the lottery but on December 16 the numbers well and truly came up.

He said: "I popped into our Co-op in City Way on the way to pick up some instant coffee, and decided to treat myself to a couple of Lucky Dip tickets for the Thunderball draw that night.

"I put them in my wallet and thought no more about it until that evening when I checked my tickets on The National Lottery app."

“As I scanned the ticket I didn’t get the usual message and instead saw a big £500,000 flashing back at me.

"I assumed my phone had a gremlin so came out of the app and tried again but received the same message.

"Totally confused, I bought the numbers up via the website, and cross checked them with my Thunderball ticket.

"I suddenly realised there were no gremlins and I had won half a million pounds.”

Len went to share the good news with his wife of 46 years, Hazel – who was asleep upstairs oblivious to the life-changing events.

He woke her by slapping her shoulder shouting: "Wake up, I've won."

Hazel said: "Often when he has bought a ticket he’ll go to bed saying ‘when I wake up in the morning I’m going to be rich’, so when he did wake me up I didn’t really believe him and assumed it was a few pounds.

"We checked the numbers on the ticket again and I then realised it was certainly a bit more than a few pounds."

Len always joked one day he would be a lottery winner but now it has finally happened

He is now looking forward to fully-retiring from his role in the catering business and focus on one of his biggest life passions – pythons.

Len said: “We’ve worked pretty hard all our lives. At one point I was doing three jobs when the children were younger.

"While Hazel is very happy to carry on in her sales role in the building trade, I’m over the moon to take early retirement.

"Although I have a sneaky suspicion, with the new renovation plans that this win will make possible, I’ll be busier than ever.

“But when there are spare moments, I will be at the end of the garden in the adapted summerhouse caring for my collection of pythons.

"I grew up in outback Australia and I think that’s where my love of snakes has come from.

"Some people believe snakes are lucky, I don’t tend to believe that but when I look at that giant cheque for £500,000 maybe there is some truth in it after all."

The couple were saving up for a trip back down-under to visit their son. They were originally looking at making the trip next year but with the win, their plans have been pushed up to this year and into business class seats.

They also have two daughters who will be gifted a portion of the winnings with Len and Hazel saying "they too can enjoy the wonderful feeling this win has brought and the peace of mind a few quid in the bank can bring”.

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