In a heart-warming tale just days before Christmas, a retired firefighter and a great-grandmother, who have been neighbours in adjoining semis for over half a century, are basking in the joy of winning a share of £1 million in the People’s Postcode Lottery.
The jubilant neighbours, Steve and Maureen, who have resided in the winning postcode area of Whitchurch since 1970, emerged victorious alongside three other neighbours, each receiving a substantial cheque for £200,000. The winning postcode, RG28 7DB, earned them the weekly Millionaire Street prize, making their festive season truly special.
The bond between Steve and Maureen goes beyond the walls of their homes, as they moved into the same street within a week of each other. Over the years, their families have flourished, with a combined total of 8 children, 13 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
For Steve, who dedicated over 40 years to firefighting before retiring in 2015, the unexpected windfall is a dream come true. “What a beautiful Christmas present! You hear of places that win, but you never think it’ll ever be you,” he exclaimed with joy.
Maureen, equally elated, found herself celebrating not just a lottery win but also her birthday, making the occasion even more memorable. “I didn’t expect this in a million years. We’ve got lots to celebrate, and Christmas is looking pretty good too. It’s marvellous that Steve has won as well. I’m so pleased,” she shared.
The timing of the win couldn’t be better for Steve, as he plans to replace his aging car. “The clutch is just about coming out on it, and it’s done way over its miles. I’ve been looking at an electric car for a change, so I can buy one now,” he revealed.
Steve’s firefighting career included being a Watch Manager for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, stationed at Whitchurch Fire Station. His involvement in significant incidents, such as the Mercantile Credit fire of 1991, attests to his dedication to public service.
The jubilant neighbours, who have weathered life’s ups and downs together, were overjoyed to share the news of their double win. “We’ve been here since day one – 53 years – with Maureen next door, and we get on well together. It’s so nice that we’ve all won. They’ve been through all the ups and the downs with us, and we all know each other’s families,” Steve expressed.
Already with a trip to the Isle of Wight booked in 2024, the couple now dreams of revisiting the Mediterranean, with Steve musing about the possibility of a larger allotment for his gardening passion.
Maureen, revelling in the joy of proving her husband wrong about lottery wins, shared the plans for extended celebrations into the New Year. “We’ve got several celebrations next year. It’s our diamond wedding anniversary, my daughter’s pearl wedding anniversary, my great-granddaughter is turning 16, and my daughter-in-law is turning 60.”
The couple intends to mark their 60 years of marriage with a luxurious cruise, reminiscing about a holiday to the Caribbean a decade ago. Reg, still working part-time in gardening, is excited about upgrading their TV and car, both long overdue for an update.
Notably, the lottery win doesn’t just bring happiness to the winners; local charities also benefit. Steve expressed his delight at the positive impact on the community, stating, “I love hearing that the community has also got something from our win, and the Postcode Lottery is really making a difference.”
Whitchurch Silk Mill, an industrial heritage museum, received £50,000 from players of the Postcode Lottery through the Postcode Society Trust. The funding is crucial for preserving the craft of silk weaving, a unique heritage that requires support to continue.
Other charities in the Whitchurch area that received funding from the Millionaire Street prize include Whitchurch Association (£40,000), contributing to the town’s well-being, Whitchurch Community Swimming Pool (£20,000), dedicated to reopening the community swimming pool, and Cats Protection (Andover and District Branch) (£50,000), aiding in the rescue and rehoming of stray and unwanted cats and kittens in the area.