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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 July, 2004, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Lotto winner was set to lose job
Thea and Paul Bristow
Thea Bristow had only recently changed one of her numbers
A grandmother facing redundancy by the end of the year is celebrating after scooping 15m on the National Lottery.

Thea Bristow, 50, was due to lose her job at a souvenir maker within the next few months and was already making plans for a new career.

But the grandmother of four from Torquay in Devon became the biggest female Lotto winner when she won the jackpot in Saturday's draw.

Luck was on her side as she changed one of her numbers just last month.

Mrs Bristow, a production operative, was in London with her husband Paul, 53, to pick up the bumper cheque and start a new life as a millionaire.

We just changed one of the numbers last month and now I'm a millionaire
Thea Bristow
She said: "It is wonderful. The company was winding down and I was in line to be made redundant at the end of the year and I was already preparing to leave after 12 years there.

"I was thinking 'what am I going to do?' But now, who knows?"

The modest winner even managed to keep her excitement under wraps for almost an entire day after realising she had won because she wanted to tell husband first and face-to-face.

Mrs Bristow has no plans to buy an expensive sports cars though - she instead wants to learn to drive and buy herself a Ford Ka.

Scouts honoured

Her lucky numbers - 22, 27, 30, 31, 48 and 49 - are made up of the ages of her three children and their son-in-law, with the highest two representing the nearest to their own ages.

But until June, their son, Alan, was 26, so the number only changed to 27 after his birthday.

Mrs Bristow, who works for souvenir manufacturer Polkadot Designs, said: "Yes, we just changed one of the numbers last month and now I'm a millionaire."

The couple's family have been asked to draw up wish lists, but also set to benefit are the Cub Scouts from 1st Torbay (St Marychurch), where Mr Bristow is an Akela.

Mr Bristow, who has been involved with the Scouts for more than two decades, has promised the youngsters the trip of a lifetime, although he does not know where yet.

Kept quiet

He added: "I have always said if ever we won the Lotto I would take them all on a holiday of a lifetime and thanks to our win, I can hopefully make that dream a reality."

The couple were joined by youngsters from the Cub Pack in a surprise visit on Wednesday, including their granddaughter, Melody Stockman, nine.

Mrs Bristow bought her ticket during a visit to London on Saturday, but she did not check the numbers until Sunday morning while staying with her mother, Anne Polhill.

But she still kept it quiet until her husband came to collect her in the afternoon.

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