Lowestoft charity shop in lottery heaven- again!

They say lightning never strikes twice.

But a group of lucky charity workers in Lowestoft have proved the old addage wrong by scooping �129,473 on the National Lottery at the weekend- several years after winning �2,000 in the Lotto draw.

And as these photographs show, for the 22 dedicated volunteers and staff at the Barnardos charity shop in Lowestoft town centre they can be forgiven for thinking about themselves for one minute as they ponder what to spend Saturday's �129,473 windfall on.

The 22 members have 31 lines, with some members having more than one, and each line netted �4,176 after they matched five numbers and a bonus ball.

For the last 13 years the volunteers and staff, past and present, have done 31 lines for the Lotto and six years ago the lucky lottery gamblers shared a �2,000 windfall from Camelot.

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However that sum has paled into insignificance with Saturday's result, which saw total disbelief, shock and then joy appear on the 22 syndicate members' faces.

And unlike other lottery tales of people upping sticks and leaving their jobs after winning the jackpot, the volunteers have all pledged to carry on their work at the shop to keep raising funds to help vulnerable children.

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Saturday night may have also seen Lowestoft's telephone system go into melt down as shop manager Angie Garrod, 51, from Carlton Colville, frantically ring round her fellow syndicate members in and around the town to tell them the good news.

Mrs Garrod, who set up the syndicate 13 years ago, had been decorating her lounge with partner and fellow volunteer Ray Lawrence when they realised everyone's dream of It Could Be You had turned into reality.

And there were further frantic scenes as Mrs Garrod rushed to the Barnardos shop in London Road North to make sure the winning ticket was safe. She was worried that volunteer Bernie McDonald, 28 had bought the right lines from the town centre's WHSmith store- but thankfully her fears were unfounded.

Speaking at yesterday's photoshoot to celebrate the syndicate's success, Mrs Garrod said: 'I could not believe it when our numbers came up. I had to check them. We then rushed to the shop to get the ticket, on the way I did wonder it if was safe.

'I then rang the number on the ticket and the Lottery people told us we had won.

'I then thought that I could not wait until the morning to tell everyone we had won so I started ringing them all. I woke a few of them up, But it was great to give them such good news.

'We are still in shock and have not decided what to do with the money. Holidays and home DIY are at the top of most people's lists.

'It is not a life changing amount but it has made 22 people very happy.

'It was the perfect reward as well for all the volunteers and staffs' hard work over the years in keeping the shop running.

In a further sign of the charity shop luck Mrs Garrod also recently won �1,000 at a bingo night.

Saturday's winning numbers belonged to Linda Shepherd, 48, who used her birthday to select her numbers.

Mrs Shepherd, who is wheelchair bound after an accident two years ago, could not attend yesterday's event, but her husband Michael Shepherd, 69, was there.

He said: 'At the time my wife was more concerned if I had done our own numbers on Saturday. I would have been in her bad books if I had not.

'It was very nice to win, it won't change our lives too much but it will make a nice difference.'

Marie Fellingham, 39 and a staff member who also volunteers her free time at the shop, said: 'When the phone rang, I thought something really bad might have happened at the shop.

'I was beyond belief when I was told we had won so much. It is fantastic.'

The Barnardos shop in London Road North, which receives about 40 sacks of donated items a week, needs volunteers and always needs more donations.

To help call 01502 587662.

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