Development & Alumni Relations Office 


21 January 2019

Patrick Connolly, BEng Chemical Engineering (1987), and his wife Frances, BA Psychology (1990), are celebrating their New Year’s Day EuroMillions Lottery win of £114.9m – the fourth biggest ever in the UK!

Currently living in Moira, County Down, the couple bought the only winning ticket for the game on Tuesday 01 January, and told the media at a news conference on Friday (4 January) that it was beyond even their wildest dreams.

The lucky pair matched the numbers 1, 8, 11, 25 and 28, plus Lucky Stars 4 and 6, ending a long sequence of rollovers stretching back to 16 November and instantly becoming the UK’s fourth-largest winners.

It was announced the following day that the winners had already come forward to claim their prize, and they decided to go public with their story rather than stay anonymous.

Speaking at a winners’ press conference at Belfast’s Culloden Estate and Spa, they revealed that they had been overwhelmed but still managed to keep the celebrations low-key. Frances said: “We don’t really do excited – perhaps I raised my voice just a bit at the time when I found out – but we celebrated with a cup of tea and a hug.”

Patrick had played online and bought just one Lucky Dip ticket for the draw. He checked the results on several sites to make sure they had won, turned to his partner of 30 years and asked ‘do you want the good news?’

“We really didn’t know what to do or how to react and we didn’t sleep a wink that night. We rang Camelot at 8am in the morning to verify the win. Then it started to dawn on us that it was true even though it still hasn’t really sunk in.”

Asked what they would do with the money, the couple insisted that they would use it to help the people they know and love. They have already made a list of about 50 names who they would like to share their winnings with, adding at the time that everyone on the list was still in the dark.

“It's going to be so much fun giving it away. The pleasure for me is going to be seeing people's faces," said Frances. Patrick added that this win would just enhance what was already a very happy life. He explained: “I've got a wonderful wife, a wonderful family and wonderful friends, so this is the icing on the cake. Money doesn't bring you happiness. We already had happiness and were very blessed in life.”

They are also determined to keep busy and explore new opportunities with the financial freedom they now have. “For the minute I'm retired, I need to digest this, but it won't last long, I need to be doing something,” said Patrick. Frances added: “I've wanted to do my PhD in clinical psychology and I can afford to do it now.”

Frances, originally from County Tyrone and Belfast man Patrick met at a wedding in 1989 and have been together since. Previously living in Hartlepool, County Durham, where Patrick worked in engineering roles, they have three daughters and three grandchildren, two boys and a girl. Frances, who was an educational programme co-ordinator, hopes to do a PHD in clinical psychology.

Talking about his time at Queen's as an undergraduate Patrick said: "I studied Chemical Engineering at Queen's. I enjoyed my time at University and this course provided a strong foundation for the Production Management roles that I carried out in various businesses."

Frances, who graduated three years after Patrick, said: "I studied Psychology at Queen's University, and have subsequently worked with young people in a variety of capacities.

"However, what I am grateful to Queen's for, apart from a love of the University itself, is an abiding commitment to education."

For more on the Connolly’s massive lottery win, watch their news conference originally broadcast on Facebook Live, here.

To submit graduate news items, or for general enquiries about this news story, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Queen's Development and Alumni Relations Office – tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

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