A Yorkshire couple who scooped more than £2 million on the lottery plan to use their winnings to fulfil their lifelong dream of running their own business.
Peter Occardi, 48, and wife Claire, 44, didn’t believe they had won after being sent an email telling them they had hit the jackpot and pocketed £2,237,284 on the National Lottery.
Mr Occardi, a design engineer, went to work as normal, and the couple from Skipton had a meal of jacket potatoes and cheese on the evening after hearing the news as they tried to carry on as normal.
But after having the win confirmed, they told how they plan to use the money to provide for their son and set themselves up in business. They said today that a small plane was more of a priority than fancy cars.
Mr Occardi said: “We’re both quite driven individuals and will always want to work in some capacity. Claire really wants to go in to property and business coaching and I’ve always wanted to set up my own manufacturing business, and now I can.
“Our win also means that we don’t have to worry about providing for our son, we can provide him with the best possible upbringing and can look at investing in a bigger house with a garden for him to enjoy as he grows up.”
Mr Occardi said he was now annoying his wife by referring to her as “Rodney” after the Only Fools And Horses TV character and the show’s much-repeated line about millionaires.
Design engineer Mr Occardi said: “I’ve started calling her Rodney, which I don’t think she appreciates - ‘this time tomorrow, Rodney, we’ll be millionaires’.
“It’s not sunk in, it really hasn’t. It’s quite a life-changing amount, as the saying goes.”
The couple, who met at the Devonshire Arms, at Bolton Abbey, in 2010, play online at www.national-lottery.co.uk and hit the Lotto jackpot last Wednesday.
They have sinced returned to the restaurant to celebrate their win and posed for pictures during a press conference at the site today.
They told how they were sat in their bedroom, on the Thursday morning, feeding their two-year-old son, when they discovered their fortune.
Mr Occardi said: “I checked my emails, as I do every morning, and noticed I had a message from The National Lottery asking me to check my account.
“We’d had a similar email last week and we had won £25, so initially I thought it would be another of the same so I didn’t really think much of it.
“On first glance, at my phone, I thought we’d won just over £2,000, but I looked again and noticed there were too many digits. ‘What’s wrong?’ Claire asked, as all of the colour drained from my face.
“I handed her the phone and still shaking, said, ‘We’ve not won £25, we’ve won £2million! We both couldn’t believe our eyes, and were convinced that it was a joke or some kind of mistake.”
His first phone call, the next morning, was to the National Lottery line to confirm the win.
He said: “I was convinced that it was a scam, so before ringing I spent an hour checking that it was all above board.
“As soon as they confirmed that we had in fact won £2.2m Claire and I just sat there in disbelief. It was still pretty early at this point, but it felt like we had been awake for hours!”
The father-of-one said he then went to work, as if nothing had happened, keeping the good news to himself.
Mrs Occardi, a marketing consultant, said: “We still didn’t believe it, so we carried on as normal, Peter went to work and I carried on working at home. We didn’t even have an exciting tea, I made us jacket potatoes and cheese.
“The only person we told was my mum, who comes to babysit on a Thursday and Friday. I showed her the email when she arrived on Thursday morning and she almost fainted.”
The winning Lotto numbers on Wednesday 16 September were 12, 14, 21, 22, 37, 43 and the bonus ball was 36.