To mark the 25th birthday of The National Lottery, Newry couple Eithne and Colin Bell joined a group of lucky winners from Northern Ireland at the part lottery-funded Titanic Belfast where they posed for a unique celebratory photo on the famous Titanic Staircase.

Retired couple Colin Bell and wife Eithne scooped a huge £1,000,000 in the EuroMillions UK Millionaire Maker draw on 20 June 2017.  

Colin and Eithne Bell from Newry, were amongst a group of lucky winners from Northern Ireland who gathered to celebrate the 25th birthday of The National Lottery.
Colin and Eithne Bell from Newry, were amongst a group of lucky winners from Northern Ireland who gathered to celebrate the 25th birthday of The National Lottery.

Former teacher Colin and Eithne, a retired nursery school worker, were settling in for a quiet night in front of the telly when their evening took an unexpected but remarkable twist. 

Now Colin and Eithne devote their time to the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which they founded in June 2013 after their son tragically lost his life whilst in America. The charity has since helped repatriate the bodies of hundreds of Irish people who have died suddenly overseas.

Speaking at the event about their Lottery experience, they said: “Our life is much the same but it is so much more comfortable in that we know that we’re never under pressure. We’d like to wish the National lottery a very, very Happy 25th Birthday. It has been a fabulous day today celebrating 25 years of the National Lottery.”

Colin and his wife Eithne were joined on the day by many other Northern Ireland winners. 

As The National Lottery celebrates 25 years, Northern Ireland is officially one of the luckiest postcode regions in the UK, ranking second out of 121 UK postcodes in the overall league table of National Lottery millionaires, with 133 millionaires created here since the first Lotto draw on 19 November 1994.

Interestingly, more than a quarter (34) of all Northern Ireland’s millionaires to date have been made in the past three years*, making this officially the luckiest period ever for local National Lottery players, with a ticket-holder winning a million pounds or more every 32 days on average.

The ‘luck of the Irish’ could not have been better illustrated when, in January this year, Moira couple Frances and Patrick Connolly became one of the biggest ever National Lottery winners after scooping an incredible £114,969,775.70 EuroMillions jackpot on New Year’s Day.

Northern Ireland is also one of the luckiest postcodes nationally for big winners of £50,000 or more, ranking 3rd in the UK over the past three years and 6thsince 1994. A life-changing amount of £50k or more has been banked by no fewer than 788 players in Northern Ireland, at a rate of one every 11.6 days.

The National Lottery’s 25th birthday this month is a time to celebrate the extraordinary impact The National Lottery has had on the UK, and to say thank you to National Lottery players for contributing around £30 million to good causes every week. 

Across the last 25 years The National Lottery has had a transformational effect on the United Kingdom.  A staggering £40 billion has been raised for Good Causes with 565,000 grants made across arts, sport, heritage and community.  That’s the equivalent of 200 life-changing projects in every UK postcode district. Players have banked a whopping £71 billion in prizes and a staggering 5,500 millionaires have been made.

In Northern Ireland alone, more than £1.2 billion has been awarded in National Lottery grants to more than 25,000 individuals, organisations and projects across the province.

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