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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 August 2005, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Lottery winner claims 77m cheque
Dolores McNamara
Dolores McNamara won Europe's biggest lottery prize
An Irish woman who went into hiding after scooping Europe's biggest lottery jackpot has claimed her prize.

Dolores McNamara, 46, braved massive media attention to collect her 77m cheque at the Irish National Lottery's Dublin offices four days after her win.

The mother-of-six fled her Limerick home after winning the prize on Friday and has been living in a Cork hotel.

At a press conference, her solicitor appealed for privacy on her behalf to enable her to get back to normal.

'Proud'

A spokesman for the Irish National Lottery said the win was a "proud" moment for the organisation and that Ms McNamara was a "special person".

Ms McNamara appeared at the press conference, where she was presented with a giant cheque written out for 115m euros and a bouquet of flowers.

Congratulations to her, well done. If I won I had spend, spend, spend, after looking after my family and paying off a huge mortgage.
Pippa Stone, Derbyshire

She enjoyed a celebratory glass of champagne and posed for press photographers but did not comment on her win.

Solicitor David Sweeney said: "Dolores is absolutely thrilled with her win but realises that it will take some time for the implications of her win to sink in.

"Up to now, Dolores has lived a very happy and contented life among her family, friends and neighbours and it is her sincere desire that she and her family will return to normality as soon as possible."

He added: "She is absolutely determined that her feet and the feet of her family will remain firmly on the ground."

He asked the media to afford her "space and privacy to get her life back to normal".

The Irish lottery did not initially have enough money on hand to honour her prize and had to wait for extra funds to be transferred.

'Big shock'

The cash was ready for her to collect on Wednesday but she failed to appear at the Irish National Lottery offices in Dublin to pick it up.

On Wednesday, Ms McNamara issued a statement saying she appreciated the support she had received from friends and neighbours.

She said the win had come as "a big shock" to her and her family and asked the media to give them "space and privacy to absorb the implications".

To win the Euromillions jackpot, Ms McNamara had to match five main numbers from 1 to 50 and 2 Lucky Star numbers from 1 to 9.

Europe's previous biggest lottery draw prize was 72m (105m euros) won on the Italian Superenalotto in May.

The UK's top Euromillions jackpot winner is Marion Richardson, from Gateshead, who won 16.7m on 9 April, 2004, two months after the game was launched.

The largest UK National Lottery jackpot win in history was 42m shared by three ticket holders on 6 January, 1996.

The UK's biggest single winner revealed to date is Iris Jeffrey, from Belfast, who won 20.1m on 14 July, 2004.

The world's largest individual jackpot prize was taken by Andrew Whittaker, who won $314.9m (197.4m) in the US playing Powerball in 2002.


SEE ALSO:
Euromillions winner 'in hiding'
31 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
First UK win on Euro lottery draw
11 Apr 04 |  Scotland
Lottery shake-up plans criticised
25 Mar 04 |  UK Politics
Can a lottery win make you happy?
12 Feb 04 |  Magazine
El Gordo brings Christmas cheer
23 Dec 01 |  Europe


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