A DAD-of-three who won a huge £5.4million on a £1.40 slot game on his phone has said his family’s life has changed forever.
Michael Clark, from Newcastle, had a dream start to 2023, having scooped the biggest payout in bookmaker Betfred’s 56-year history.
He and his partner Sherelle Pooley said they are now “living the dream” and have already started a list of the things they want to do with the massive jackpot.
Already on the wish-list are bagging Newcastle United season tickets and getting married at last.
The couple have already decided to get Michael’s grandmother a new stairlift so she can stay in her home and Sherelle, 27, is getting a new engagement ring.
They hope to hold their wedding reception at Newcastle United’s home ground St James’ Park.
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The pair are also looking at having their honeymoon in Jamaica, getting a new Tesla car – when Michael has passed his driving test – and getting a six-bedroom house in the countryside.
Michael, who worked at a mental health unit on minimum wage terms, has also splashed out £1,000 on a new suit.
They have already shared some of their good fortune after meeting a rough sleeper in Newcastle city centre close to the hotel they are now living in.
Michael was asked for a cigarette and they got chatting and the man explained how he had fallen on hard times.
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He then paid for him to stay the night in a hotel.
The lucky pair, who were brought up in Walker, a south-east suburb of Newcastle, were relaxing at home and Michael became bored of the Christmas TV repeats and decided to play the slots game instead.
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The 32-year-old told the Chronicle: “I was on it for probably 20 or 30 minutes or so and just kept on winning until I found myself playing for the jackpot. At first I thought we’d won £5,000, which was a great amount, but then I realised there were more numbers showing on my phone. I just couldn’t believe that I’d actually won so much.
“We thought it must have been a mistake at first, and then we started hugging each other when we realised it was real. I just couldn’t stop crying, and there was no way I was going to go to sleep that night having won such an enormous amount of money.”
Michael said he loved his job at the mental health unit but the boss understood when he explained what had happened and would be leaving.
Sherelle, who works as a carer for her grandmother, reassured her she would still be looked after.
He explained they had been engaged for seven years but now would be upgrading the engagement ring to something “a lot more expensive” than the original £1,000 spent in 2016 and was thinking of getting himself a “posh” watch.
Michael also revealed he’d now been given the nickname “Micky Millions”.
While they might be thinking about what to spend some of the cash on, Michael also said they were looking to the future as they didn’t want to waste the money and wanted to make sure future generations of the family could “flourish”.
He said: “It’s just unbelievable what has happened to us – a total transformation of our lives. To be starting 2023 as not just a millionaire but a multi-millionaire has blown my mind. I can't thank Betfred enough… it's massively appreciated what they have done for us."
The pair met while Michael was behind the counter at KFC and Sherelle would come in and always place the same order of a chicken fillet without any sauce.
When he moved to a different branch in the city centre he was surprised she had managed to track him down – and she still kept the same order.
They later went on a date to a coffee bar and ended up moving in together.
While the pair maybe getting used to the finer things in life they both still love tucking into a Greggs bacon sandwich for breakfast and Michael admitted to having a taste for Pot Noodles.
Michael also said that while he is developing a taste for champagne he still liked a pint of “dog” – Newcastle Brown Ale.
Betfred boss Fred said: "This proves nice guys can win. Michael is the most worthy of winners. It is brilliant news for this smashing couple."
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chase their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry, or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to www.gamstop.co.uk to be excluded from all UK-regulated gambling websites.
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