CARLY Troullis is tasked with the ‘rewarding’ role of telling jackpot winners they’ve won, with prizes worth £5,000 to £475,000 up for grabs.
The mum-of-one from Thurrock plays a pivotal role in changing people’s lives and now reveals the most memorable calls she’s had over the years.
Carly, who first joined the finance department of The Health Lottery before moving to the marketing team six years ago, has heard it all when it comes to contacting those lucky enough to bag the jackpot prize – including a few choice swear words in her time.
The 37-year-old reveals how most winners more than likely think they’re being ‘scammed’ and will often put the phone down on her – but while many can be sceptical at first, her conversations can provide plenty of tear-jerking moments too,with one winner leaving her with ‘goosebumps’.
“You do get people who swear and put the phone down on you… it isn’t an everyday call.
“I started at the Health Lottery 11 years ago. I started in the finance team, but it wasn’t for me so I moved over to the marketing team just doing day-to-day tasks.
“When people left I started taking on more responsibilities and picking up the winners calls… I sort of fell into it, but it’s one of my favourite parts of the job. It’s always daunting because you never know how they’re going to react. People feel that they’re being scammed all the time now.
“You do get people who swear and put the phone down on you. If someone phones you up to tell you that you’ve won the jackpot, it isn’t an everyday call,” she explains.
“Normally, if they’ve got doubts, I go through the draw that they’ve won and the numbers they’ve matched. I don’t give them any other information apart from telling them to go away and look on the website. Usually they go and verify it themselves, which is when I’ll give them a second call.
“I’ll usually wait for around 30-minutes to an hour, so it can really sink in for them. Most of them haven’t even checked their emails yet, so it is a shock to them.”
“You get goosebumps. You feel so happy that you’ve made someone’s day”
Carly continued: “Even though our prizes aren’t massive – I’m not telling someone they’ve won £12 million, I’m telling them they’ve won five or fifty grand – that still makes a difference to people’s lives.
“One £250k winner’s wife was really poorly and she said she could leave [her husband] and know he’s comfortable. You get goosebumps. You feel so happy that you’ve made someone’s day.
“Pauline, our last £250,000 winner, said she just feels comfortable now. She’s got quite a lot of disabilities and she couldn’t quite hear me on the phone, she’s quite deaf.
“Her husband was the one I spoke to… he thought it wasn’t real. I promised him it was and that I’d call him back after 30 minutes. He called me back first and was like, ‘Oh my god, it’s true.’
“We had a £10,000 winner recently who burst into tears on the phone. [These calls] far outweigh being told to ‘F off’ on phone calls.”
The job is one Carly says you can’t really prepare for, adding: “To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. It just got dumped on me one morning. I always get really nervous before you call them. Not many people win the jackpot, whatever the size of the prize, so you want to make them feel special.
“Andrew was one of our first £250,000 winners, he is very IT savvy, so he was very dubious. He didn’t believe it until I met him in The Savoy Hotel a week later.
“It took a lot of hand-holding and reassuring… before meeting me Andrew’s wife was like, these are really generous fraudsters if it is fraud.
“One of the best ones I’ve ever had was a couple from Chelmsford. They won £250,000. One of them couldn’t work because they were on benefits. When we went to present them with the cheque, we got to their house with a film crew.
“The husband hadn’t told his wife they’d won, he told her we were from the benefits office. You could see she was really confused, but then we told her then that they’d won £250,000. Being there face to face, that has to be my best one.”
“I love my job. At times it has been really hard, but it’s really rewarding”
Carly adds: “I love my job. At times it has been really hard, but it’s really rewarding. When things get really pressured at work, I often have to tell myself to calm down and remind myself that we’re doing really good work. It keeps you focused. Gambling’s got such a bad reputation. It’s tarnished with a brush, but the good we do far outways that.”
As well as speaking to winners, Carly works closely alongside the charities involved with The Health Lottery too, supporting a variety of projects from food banks to care homes and even grass root sports.
Carly credits The Health Lottery for targeting those at a local level, with the money raised used to fund grants for smaller charities and ensure that those who “don’t often get the support of bigger charities” still receive the vital support they need.
“A lot of charities that are supportive of other lotteries, I would say they’re in place for after something bad has happened. Whereas, we go to such a grass root, local level. Fundamentally, the reason why we were set up is to give back to these people.
“Our last few winners have all said that it feels like they’re giving back to charity by playing. Everyone wins, as cheesy that is.”
The Health Lottery’s Big Win offers five weekly draws, each with a jackpot of £25,000, and players are able to get their hands on thousands of other prizes including biweekly free second chance prize draws.
Every £1 play for a weekly Wednesday draw will also enter the player into a free prize draw for a cash prize of £100,000 – and on Saturday for a £475,000 Megadraw. See www.healthlottery.co.uk