Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Love Is Top of Winner's Wish List; Today the Journal's Chance of Millions Lottery Competition Enters Its Third Week. Rhodri Phillips Speaks to One North Lotto Winner, Who Has Refused to Let Her Winnings Affect Her

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Love Is Top of Winner's Wish List; Today the Journal's Chance of Millions Lottery Competition Enters Its Third Week. Rhodri Phillips Speaks to One North Lotto Winner, Who Has Refused to Let Her Winnings Affect Her

Article excerpt

Byline: Rhodri Phillips

LOTTERY winner Sarah Cockings says hitting the pounds 3m jackpot 18 months ago hasn't changed her.

She still lives with her parents, shops in high street stores, enjoys nights out with her sisters in her home town of Whitley Bay - and perhaps most surprisingly - she still buys lottery tickets.

The 23-year-old hit the headlines in May last year when she won a share of the pounds 9,137,115 top prize, after deciding for the first time in four years to choose her own numbers rather than rely on the Lucky Dip.

The former Whitley Bay High School pupil has since become engaged to, and then separated from her boyfriend, bought a four-bedroom house in Northumberland for her parents and taken a break from her university course.

But according to Sarah, she is still the same person as the 21-year-old social work student whose life was turned upside down one Saturday night when six round balls were picked out at random by a machine - even though she does now enjoy the odd luxury holiday.

She has just returned from a month long tour of Fiji and Australia - but yesterday afternoon she was busy making tea for the builders renovating the old family home in Whitley Bay.

She said: "The 18 months since the win have been amazing. My life has been changed, but it has not changed me. I am still a high-street girl and I still buy lottery tickets for the excitement factor.

"It has given me opportunities I wouldn't otherwise have had and it has given me security - but I was happy before the Lottery win and I am still happy. Life is just great.

"You hear horror stories about winners blowing it all on drink and drugs, but Camelot have been very supportive, offering advice on how to invest the money.

"I haven't really splashed out so far, and most of the money is still in the bank. The trip to Fiji and Australia was the first time I thought 'Wow'. It was the first time I have had a glimpse into the life which winning the lottery has opened up to me."

Sarah decided last summer to take a break from her degree course at Northumbria University - but insisted yesterday she fully intends to finish it.

She said: "I am enjoying life at the moment. …

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