One Lottery punter in Preston kissed goodbye to a million pounds this week … and didn’t feel a thing.
The search for the missing millionaire from the draw in January was officially abandoned after a fruitless six-month search.
“We haven’t had a valid claim, so the money will now go to good causes,” said a spokesperson for Camelot.
Only one person lodged a claim, saying she had mislaid her Euromillions ticket. But the young mum from the Broadgate area of the city was ruled out because the winning entry was bought at a different shop.
“At least I know,” said the woman who asked not to be named. “I put in my claim because I honestly thought the ticket was the one I threw out with the rubbish.
“I had another ticket bought at the same time and the code on that was pretty similar.
“Camelot told me I had to wait until the end of the 180-day claim period. But I’ve now had a letter saying my ticket wasn’t bought at the right shop. So it wasn’t mine after all.”
Lottery staff have been scouring the country for the punter who bought the winning ticket in Preston prior to the draw on January 5.
Camelot drafted in a gold sportscar to publicise the search for the lucky tickeholder. And even putting up a gold sign in the outdoor market trumpeting the fact that Preston is the luckiest Lottery place in Lancashire failed to flush out the winner.
But when the ticket had not shown up by this week the Lottery team called a halt and added the cash to the £33m which goes to good causes every week in the UK.
“We did our best to trace the winner, but it wasn’t to be,” said the spokesperson. “It would have been nice if someone had found it under a cushion or at the back of a drawer. But they didn’t.”
Had the winner been found then he or she would have been Preston’s eighth Lottery millionaire in the past two years.
The city has also produced a total of 277 major winners since the Lottery began in November 1994.
On average punters in Preston have been winning one £50,000-plus prize every four or five weeks.
Andy Carter, who advises winners on how to cope with a life-changing prize, said: “Preston has a great record for winning on the Lottery, especially in the past two years.
“Winning seems to happen in clusters. No-one knows quite why it happens like that.
“The Lottery has created numerous millionaires in Preston – but not this one.”