A week had already passed before she discovered that a golden ticket was pressed into her purse, but for Paula Williamson, the wait was only just beginning.
It was a night on which 40 millionaires had been created, but only 39 had broken cover. The 40th was determined to keep her counsel until one of her two sons came back from a trip to Australia, five weeks later.
Mrs Williamson, a school dinner lady from Barnsley, finally served up the news yesterday, at a reception her boys assumed was to mark her 20 years of service in her job.
Instead, the family was greeted by Camelot staff with magnums of Champagne.
“Celebrating the winning moment is something we wanted to ensure we would remember for ever,” said Mrs Williamson, 59, who had told Geoff, her husband of 23 years, but no-one else, of her March 1 jackpot.
Claiming to have let the news go over her head and to have forgotten about it, she said: “We both decided we wanted to tell Jack and Ian at the same time.”
Her two sons both live at home, and Ian, at 24 the younger by two years, had been under the same roof while she kept mum.
“It was tough being in the same house and keeping it from him but we did it. We just tried to keep ourselves as occupied as possible,” she said.
Mrs Williamson says she now wants to buy houses for her sons – something Ian, a ground worker and father of one, said he never thought he would afford.
He said: “I have been self-employed since July last year. When I phoned NatWest up to see if I could apply for a mortgage they said I would have to wait at least two years for a self-assessment.”