£15m lottery pair hid ticket under lamp for two weeks

Alison and John Doherty celebrate winning �14,671,343. Picture: PA
Alison and John Doherty celebrate winning �14,671,343. Picture: PA
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A COUPLE who won nearly £15 million on the lottery hid their ticket under a lamp before taking their family on a two-week holiday.

John and Alison Doherty, from Elderslie in Renfrewshire, discovered their dreams had come true following the Lotto draw of July 2

But they kept it secret and went on a pre-booked family holiday to Florida where Mrs Doherty splashed out on a designer handbag.

They have returned home to announce their enormous £14,671,343 win but Mr Doherty says he will continue working as a plumber because of his “loyal customers”.

The dedicated father-of-two said: “I enjoy my work and I’ve been doing it for 33 years.

“At the moment, I’m going to carry on with it and it would be very hard to give it up.”

Mrs Doherty checked the winning ticket while at home eating Sunday lunch following the draw.

She said: “My iPad was lying on the table so I decided I better check my ticket.

“When the first three numbers matched I actually thought ‘Oh good I’ve won £25’. Then the fourth number matched and the fifth.

“When I realised I had all six numbers I couldn’t believe it. I was screaming, lying on the floor, shaking like a leaf – just in complete shock.”

She called her husband home from work and broke the good news.

She said: “He made me get on the phone to Camelot straight away. Waiting for the winner adviser to call me back was the longest hour of my life.”

Rather than take the ticket away with them to Florida – a family holiday booked to celebrate the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary – they decided to hide it at home.

Mrs Doherty said: “I put the original ticket inside a hurricane lantern candle holder I have in the bedroom. I also made a photocopy and hid that. I wasn’t taking any chances.”

While their holiday was a surreal experience, Mrs Doherty still managed to splash out on her first post-win purchase – a Coach designer handbag.

She said: “I love handbags but this was $400. I walked around the store for about an hour before I worked up the courage to go to the cash desk.”

The couple have two children, Ryan, 20, who is a psychology student at Heriot-Watt University, and Laura, 11.

Ryan has already set his sights on a new car.

He said: “At first I was completely mind-blown and couldn’t get my head around it at all. But the next thing that came into my head was ‘oh my God, I could get a new car’.

“I was initially joking but then it came into my head that I actually could. I have a little Ford Fiesta at the moment but I’m looking for a wee upgrade.

“It’s not going to change me in any way. I’ll still shop at Asda and I’ll keep living with my friends in a flat.”