Lightning strikes twice as Cape Breton couple claims second major lotto prize in 7 years
HALIFAX -- It seems lightning has struck twice in Cape Breton’s Victoria County, where a couple has won their second significant lottery prize in seven years.
After Saturday’s draw, Raymond and Gaye Lillington of Dingwall, N.S., are the lucky winners of a Lotto 6/49 jackpot worth $17.4 million.
Raymond purchased the winning ticket at the Cabot Trail Food Market.
But the couple are no strangers to winning the lottery. The Lillingtons also won a $3.2-million Lotto 6/49 jackpot back in 2013 -- on a ticket they bought at the same store.
“I still played and people said, ‘You’ll never win again,’ and I said, ‘Of course I will,”’ Raymond Lillington said. “But that was a joke! I never imagined this could actually happen.”
“That was pretty exciting. This is even more so, but that was life-changing for us,” said Gaye Lillington. “It was amazing, still amazing.”
The couple collected a cheque worth $17,405,158 during a presentation in Halifax on Wednesday.
The Lillingtons admit it’s hard for them to believe they could be so lucky -- twice.
“What are the odds? I could never expect this, and it’s so much money that it’s hard to absorb that information,” said Raymond.
The couple says their first win set them up for retirement, allowing them to purchase a new home, new vehicles, and fulfill most of their travelling dreams.
This time around they plan to share much of their winnings with family and loved ones, including their five children and six grandchildren.
“Our kids are even more mesmerized than we are. They just can’t believe it,” Raymond said. “My oldest texted me a million times today. He can’t eat, he can’t sleep, the kids just can’t believe it’s real.”
The couple also intends to support some local organizations and do some more international travelling, when it is safe to do so.
This is the second largest lottery prize ever won in Nova Scotia. The largest prize, worth $17.5 million, was awarded in 2007.
PRIZE GIVES MUCH-NEEDED BOOST TO BUSINESS
The Lillingtons aren’t the only winners after Saturday’s big draw. The jackpot is also a game-changer for the Cabot Trail Food Market.
Atlantic Lottery rules stipulate that when a winning ticket is sold at retail, the retail venue receives one per cent of the winning amount.
In this case, owner James McEvoy has received $174,000 -- a significant amount of money for a rural business that has been struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were looking at having to lay people off in the winter,” McEvoy told CTV News. “We can keep going now. Hopefully by next summer everything will be back to normal.”
The news has also meant a boost in business for the store; McEvoy says the Cabot Trail Food Market has buzzing since the incredible news broke.
“Well, we’re seeing a lot of people today coming and buying lottery tickets,” said McEvoy. “Hard to believe … the odds of winning twice would be enough, but twice at the same store is, gotta be phenomenal.”