AN Ashbourne man who scooped a £20,000 lottery prize on his 81st birthday says he thinks his late wife has been looking out for him.
John Biddlecombe, of Walton Crescent, lost his beloved wife Alice when she suffered a stroke on Wednesday, July 2 at the age of 85 and he is convinced she has had something to do with the win on Wednesday.
The 81-year-old former chairman of Ashbourne Ex-Servicemen's Club, who spends £30 each week on the lottery, picked up his cheque from Ashbourne's Co-operative supermarket in Shaw Croft on Thursday after finding out he'd won the Lotto Raffle prize with eight matching numbers that morning.
He said: "I can't believe it. I'm absolutely thrilled.
"I normally watch the results on television but that night I'd fallen asleep so I checked them in the morning on the internet.
"When I put my numbers in and it flashed up I just thought, 'I can't believe this, I've got to keep checking it'.
"I thought in my mind I'm going to cream it one of these days and I've been near it a few times with four numbers but I couldn't believe it when the computer screen said I was a winner."
"With my wife passing away recently and with it being my birthday I thought she must be doing something up there, it's just too co-incidental."
Another reason Mr Biddlecombe believes there may have been other forces in play over his big win was his horoscope.
Under the heading of money, Leos are said to benefit from the new position of Jupiter in their chart, which "rockets luck off the scale, and any competitions or last-minute ticket or travel options can offer prize potential."
Bev Bates, who has worked at Ashbourne's Co-operative Supermarket for 20 years, was behind the counter when Mr Biddlecombe strolled in to cash in his winnings.
She said: "He gave me the ticket and I ran it through and I just looked at it shocked. I called my supervisor, Cheryl over because she had to authorise it and it was such a surprise, we were both really excited."
Supervisor Cheryl Jones authorised the payment and a cheque for £20,000 was printed there and then.
She said: "It's really nice for John, and it's nice it's happened to someone in the community."
Mr Biddlecombe has not made any plans to spend the cash yet, but says he has been hoping to visit a friend in Brighton and will use it to help pay for a solar panel installation he ordered recently.
He said: "I will look after my children and my family and I will enjoy it, but I shan't spend it in a daft way."