A retired plumber has his late mum to thank after scooping more than £37,000 on a lottery game.
The day after his mother Victoria died, Ernie Storey came up with a poignant way to always remember her.
He decided his numbers on the 49’s lottery game would always be 7, 19,20 and 30.
It was 30 because she died on the 30th day of the month, mum was born in 1920 – and the family lived at house number seven.
That was 10 years ago - and every Saturday he used the same numbers as part of his regular wager at the Betfred shop near his home in Yoden Way, Peterlee.
As usual he kept faith with his numbers on Christmas Eve but this time put on £7.50.
Much to his amazement, all his Christmases came at once when his four numbers came up and at odds of 5,000/1 he won £37,500.
Ernie, 65, said today: “You could say I had an extra big smile on my smile while eating my turkey on Christmas day.”
The dad-of-four, who also has five grandchildren, added: “My mother Victoria, who everyone knew as Vicky, died 10 years ago on a Friday and it was the 30th of the month.
“Next day I was trying to get my mind off it and started thinking about my numbers – and came up with ones that were relevant to mum.
“For 10 years I have stuck with them and now I have had my biggest win, it’s fantastic.
“I went straight down to the pub without the wife as she’s a teetotaller but I had one for her.
“She’s very happy for me and we’re having a new couch and bits and bobs of new things for the house, a bit of shopping spree.
“We’ll also splash out on a holiday in this country because we like do England although we have been abroad.
“We may go sightseeing in London and perhaps Cornwall and of course we’ll be treating the family.
“It is a great start to the New Year and the wife and I are naturally over the moon.
“I’m a Sunderland fan and it goes without saying good news is very welcome.”