A great-grandmother can celebrate her 70th birthday in real style after winning £1 million on a lottery ticket bought in a West Norfolk village shop.
Diana De Gilio, bought the winning ticket while she was staying with her friend, Sandy Marsden, who lives in East Rudham, last month.
The pair, who met 12 years ago while on a tour of China, celebrated Diana’s win with champagne in the grounds of the Congham Hall Hotel today.
And they are now preparing to jet off on a luxury holiday to Bali and Lombok, worth £40,000, which is also part of the prize.
Diana, who is from New Zealand and has an English mother, spent several years working in Britain as a carer and was in the country to celebrate her 70th birthday on May 29.
She found out she had won the day after the draw on May 27, and the day before her 70th birthday.
But she only knew the full scale of her win after phoning the lottery operator, Camelot.
Sandy said: “It was total disbelief. When we knew about the holiday, she said, ‘Are you going to come with me?’ I said ‘Absolutely.’”
And, among Diana’s many plans, which include reunions with friends in Patagonia and Canada, as well as a new house and car back home, she intends to fly Sandy over to New Zealand for a tour of her homeland, where her million pounds equates to around $2.2 million.
A self-confessed adrenalin junkie, Diana had planned to celebrate her 70th birthday with a wing walk, having base jumped from the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower, the tallest building in the southern hemisphere, last year.
She still plans to do that and said: “I didn’t think anything could beat it, but winning a million pounds is certainly up there.”
Sandy added: “Life is one big adventure for Diana and I couldn’t think of a nicer, more genuine person to win.”
But she revealed she had made sure the money hadn’t gone to her friend’s head.
She said: “Anyone who says money changes you has no idea. I’ve had our latest millionaire mowing the lawns and cutting hedges all week.”
The winning ticket, which was for the Euromillions Mega Friday draw, was bought at the Great Massingham Post Office and Village Store.
And Diana said she only bought them after seeing a sign promoting the game and asking the cashier to explain how it worked.
She said the winning ticket was the last of five she bought with money she won from scratchcards, adding: “I feel sorry for the guy who got the next one.”
She has been back to the village to take a picture of the shop and plans to return to see the staff there.
The shop’s owner, Ray Molyneux, was unaware of the life-changing win.
He said: “We’ve had a few customers win a few hundred pounds, but nothing like that amount.
“Most of our wins have either been on the scratchards or the Lotto, but they’ve only been around £100.”