April 1 was no fool’s day this year for the 30–strong syndicate from Simms Cross Primary School in Widnes, who each left work £33,333 richer
A syndicate of 30 teachers, teaching assistants and clerical staff from Simms Cross Primary School in Widnes celebrated becoming Lotto winners in April 2016. Syndicate leader and teaching assistant, Julie Connaughton discovered the ticket as she was swapping purses and checked it online.
"I actually couldn't believe what I was seeing – I had to check and check again that the raffle code really did match the ticket I was holding in my hand," she says.
The first person Julie told was headteacher, Lesley Feakes. "Lesley thought it was a joke. We called Camelot to have the ticket verified and when it was confirmed we both just screamed out loud."
The rest of the syndicate took some convincing they had actually won £1 million, as they discovered their win on April Fool's Day.
Each syndicate member received £33,333. “This is the best news ever for the staff of the school," says Lesley. "We have all worked together for many years and all of the staff work so hard and do such a brilliant job, this is a great reward for them."
Syndicate member Beth Murphy has booked her wedding. "I had planned my wedding for May next year but kept thinking I will have to keep putting it off because of finances. But now I have been out and booked my wedding for October this year. I just cannot wait!"
Amanda Cowell, lead of the resource bases at the school for children with autism, says it's great to have so many people involved in the win. "This means so much to us all. I am still thinking how I will spend my share but it will probably involve paying off the mortgage and a few treats for myself and my family."
The Simms Cross Primary School syndicate has been playing for 17 years and has no plans to stop now. Julie says: "Everyone has mixed emotions, going from literally dancing around school, to full on tears of joy and excitement."
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