IT could be you, Wearside – the National Lottery roadshow arrived in Sunderland and promised to make more millionaires than ever before.
To mark the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Lottery bosses plan to make 100 UK millionaires with a special draw on July 27.
Shoppers in Sunderland city centre yesterday got a taste of what it must be like to hold the winning ticket.
Potential millionaires were presented with a winning cheque, had their picture taken by the paparazzi and sprayed champagne over watching crowds.
Past lottery winners Michael and Norma Eggleston, who won £2.7million in March 2007, also came along to the roadshow in Market Square to chat about what it is like to be a winner.
When the Boldon pair won, Michael, 66, had been working in Tesco after being made redundant from his job in heavy engineering, and Norma was retired.
“It was a Wednesday draw and we turned on the TV to check our numbers. I could not say anything,” said Michael. “Norma thought I had had a heart attack, I was having problems with my heart at the time.
“I said, ‘I’ve got those numbers.’ Norma started counting them and said we had all six.”
Norma said: “We couldn’t believe it. I don’t think either of us slept that night. I think the first thing that we bought was a pair of trainers.”
“It took us about two years to get used to the money and to spend without worrying. I still feel guilty if I spend too much.”
The couple gave money to charities, their children Michelle, 42, and Chris 39, and upgraded their SAFC season tickets to a corporate box at The Stadium of Light.
One of the biggest improvements in their life was that Michael was able to come off a NHS waiting list and have private treatment for a heart bypass.
“I had been on a waiting list for 12 years, I could have been dead on that waiting list,” said Michael. “That was a really big thing from winning the money.”
Echo reporter Hannah Watson celebrates like a lottery winner:
“SHAKE it as hard you can.”
That was the advice from Craig Hollingsworth of the 100 Millionaires team when I had my go at pretending to be a Lottery jackpot winner.
A tutorial in how to spray a bottle of champagne was an interesting start to a Tuesday morning.
I felt like my 15 minutes were finally upon me when a crowd of intrigued onlookers gathered around to witness the display the Lottery team and I were putting on.
The sun beamed down as photographers took my picture when I sprayed champagne through the air to a cheering crowd.
People were taking pictures on their phones, convinced that this Sunderland girl was getting a slice of the Lottery jackpot.
“Look,” one said. “That girl has won the Lottery.”
But it was all over far too quickly.
The real millionaires went back to their luxury lives and I returned to Pennywell Industrial Estate to write up my report.