November 10, 2009 / 2:20 PM / 9 years ago

"Magnificent 7" quit UK call center on lottery win

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Seven call center workers who will share Britain’s biggest lottery prize with a couple from south Wales said on Tuesday they have already told their bosses that they are leaving.

Members of a syndicate that won a share of the EuroMillions lottery spray champagne following a news conference in Liverpool, northern England, November 10, 2009. Sean Connor (L-R), Emma Cartwright, Ceri Scullion, Alex Parry, James Bennett, Donna Rhodes and John Walsh will share the lottery prize, worth 91 million pounds ($153 million), with a couple from south Wales. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The seven, who worked for U.S. computer company Hewlett Packard in Liverpool, won 45.5 million pounds in a syndicate that they only formed four months ago.

The winners, dubbed the “Magnificent Seven,” said they had worked out it would have taken 150 years for their combined wages to match that sum.

“We have all handed in our notice,” said James Bennett, one of the members of the group, who will each pocket 6.5 million pounds. “We all plan on leaving.”

Syndicate leader John Walsh, 57, said he found out they had won at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning when he checked the EuroMillions numbers on Teletext after he couldn’t sleep.

“I had to wake my wife, son and daughter so that they could double-check I was not dreaming,” he told a news conference.

Walsh calmly rang other members of the group to tell them that they had “won a few thousand pounds,” before he went into the office to collect the ticket and revealed the true amount.

Houses, cars and holiday homes topped their shopping lists.

However, the youngest winner, Alex Parry, 19, said she now hopes to go to university to study business after initially being put off by the high costs.

“I never wanted to go to uni because I didn’t want all the debts afterwards, so now I think I might go,” she said.

Lottery operator Camelot said the 91 million pounds jackpot was Britain’s biggest ever lottery payout.

It will be shared with unemployed mechanic Les Scadding, 53, and his wife Samantha Peachey-Scadding, 38, from south Wales.

Scadding said he had been telling his family for the last 12 years that he always felt he was going to win a lottery jackpot.

“They always laughed at me,” Scadding said. He discovered their win after checking their numbers on his 2-pound ticket at a Tesco supermarket in Newport on Saturday.

They celebrated with their usual Sunday lunch at their favorite restaurant, but this time ordered champagne. The couple plan to buy a Range Rover, a bigger house in south Wales and possibly a holiday home in Barbados.

The winning numbers in Friday’s draw were 11, 19, 34, 43 and 45 and the Lucky Star numbers five and nine.

Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato

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