Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Thurrock winners after playing People’s Postcode Lottery

A STUNNED Thurrock mum got a ‘strong feeling’ that she should join People’s Postcode Lottery – and won more than £411,000 two months later. 

Leyla Eaton, 33, from Tilbury, said she signed up hours after ‘a message’ randomly came into her head while she was sitting at home in February. 

Now Leyla, who runs a courier firm with husband Jamie, 34, said the family will celebrate with holidays to New York and Turkey. 

Leyla – who had made just three £12 monthly payments before her win – said: “I got a message a couple of months ago to join. It was a strong message I received…a strong feeling.

“I wasn’t following social media, and I don’t watch normal TV. I was sitting here one day and it just came into my head, like a voice, telling me to join the Postcode Lottery.

“I questioned myself and thought I was feeling it for a reason and that night I joined.

Now this just two months later!”

She added: “I do get feelings and I latch onto them through instinct. Since last September I’ve been journaling and getting more in touch with myself. I feel pretty in tune. This all feels very surreal, but I’m so thankful.”

Leyla and next door neighbour Henry Aimiuwu, 56, each bagged the windfall in Tilbury after RM18 7AW won Postcode Lottery’s weekly Millionaire Street £1m prize on Saturday, 6 April. Every ticket was worth £411,238. The rest of the prize pot was shared among players in the wider RM18 7 postcode area.

Leyla started shaking when Postcode Lottery ambassador Danyl Johnson presented her prize – then revealed it has been a tough year for the family.

In a voice quivering with emotion, she said: “Oh my God! Are you serious? This is amazing. I’m elated. This isn’t going to sink in for days.”

Hubby Jamie is due to undergo surgery on a hernia in the next few weeks and also suffers from a lower back condition.

Leyla said: “It’s come at such a needed time. We’ve had a really tough 12 months. My husband is quite unwell and needs some surgery.

“He’s a really, really hard worker and I’m off a lot of the time with the kids. He just keeps going and works every weekend possible while not being in the best of health himself.” 

She added: “He didn’t believe me when I got a phone call to say I’d won. He just said, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’. I never, ever thought this would happen. My mind didn’t go to this figure at all.” 

Now Leyla, formerly of Glasgow, is dreaming of taking her nine-year-old son and daughter, aged six, on a festive break to New York and their first family holiday in years. 

She said: “It’s been the kids’ dream to go to New York for Christmas for such a long time because of Home Alone 2. We’ll definitely look at doing it, it’s never been on the cards before.  

“This will allow us to breathe. We’ll go on a family holiday in the summer which has not been possible for quite some years because of work. I’d love to go to southern Turkey.” 

Next door, chemistry teacher Henry fell to his knees when the Postcode Lottery team knocked at his door. Then he threw the cheque away in shock and broke down after seeing the whopping amount he’d won, while wife Roberta shouted ‘What!’ 

Incredibly, dad-of-three Henry wanted to highlight the charities supported by players of Postcode Lottery rather than focusing on his win. 

The grandad said: “The People’s Postcode Lottery are doing a lot for charities, organisations, people in need and that’s what matters. That makes me happy. You know what? Thank you, People’s Postcode Lottery, thank you for what you’re doing. 

“I hope when I wake up tomorrow, I will still be able to say, ‘I’m me’ and that this is real. Winning is good, but the charitable deeds that are part of People’s Postcode Lottery is much better. I just think we have got to do more for humanity and that is what the Postcode Lottery is about. 

“Yes, I have won, but we should keep our focus on making sure humanity is preserved.” 

He added: “How do I use this to improve on my humanity? This is huge, this is too huge. Winning is winning, but this is life-transforming. It is just crazy.” 

Henry plans on treating himself and the family by going to their dream holiday destinations – Canada and the Portuguese island of Madeira.

He said: “We’ll have a couple of holidays. Canada is a place I’ve never been to but have always admired. Then Portugal. My colleagues have told me about Madeira. And I can take my family with us. What a feeling!”

Wife Roberta, 63 – supported by project analyst daughter Ese, 25 – said her shocked hubby hadn’t slept the night before.

She said: “He was still up at 2am checking the Postcode Lottery website. I told him to calm down.”

Leyla and Henry had received an email from People’s Postcode Lottery earlier in the day to say that they’d each also won a £10 prize.

Leyla laughed as she waved her big cheque and said: “I just got a message on my phone saying I’d won £10, too.”

Henry’s wife Roberta added: “He got an email just before you arrived to say that he’d won £10, and he thought maybe that was it.”

The rest of the Millionaire Street pot was shared among 204 other players in the wider postcode RM18 7 area. Each ticket was worth £727.

The full breakdown of prizes is:

172 players with one ticket – £727 each;

24 players with two tickets – £1,454 each;

8 players with three tickets – £2,181 each.

Henry will be overjoyed to learn that a local charity has also benefitted from his and Leyla’s mammoth Millionaire Street win.

Thurrock Play Network has been awarded £25,000 from Postcode Community Trust. The charity aims to make play inclusive to everyone in the community, no matter the age or circumstances.

They also support local people through craft and play, as well as active and creative events and sessions, to tackle issues from social isolation to mental and physical health.

The funding will go towards the development of a sensory garden for service users and local people to enjoy this summer and the costs of a new van.

Sylvia Yates, trustee of Thurrock Play Network, said: ”Our annual running costs are around £75,000 so the incredible support received from vital funding raised by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery supplies around a third of our annual outgoings. For small non-profit organisations like ours, this is a dream come true.”

TPN also takes in stock from businesses that is bound for landfill and upcycle goods. Last year alone, the charity managed to save 50 tonnes of waste from being dumped and has already surpassed the 25-tonne mark for 2024. 

Sylvia added: “Environment sustainability is hugely important to us and by recycling unwanted goods and products bound for landfill, we’re able to help in providing a better more sustainable future for our community.” 


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