A member of a National Lottery syndicate from a Galashiels plumbing firm will splash out on a new kitchen with his huge win, writes Kenny Paterson.
Eight people in the Graham team scooped £927,429 in Saturday’s £4.637million jackpot draw after all six of their numbers came out.
And instead of a flash sports car, branch manager Mike Ormiston’s first purchase with his £115,928 share will be something closer to home.
The 57-year-old from Clovenfords told TheSouthern: “My wife is wanting a new kitchen, so that will be the first thing I buy.
“I had been out shooting and had got showered and changed and gone to the Clovenfords Hotel when my daughter Laura tracked me down to say we had won.
“We started the syndicate with eight people in 1994 when the lottery started and have played ever since.
“There has been about 10 people who have left the syndicate. If someone has not paid for a long time then they dropped out.”
Just one unlucky employee of the Galashiels branch is not in the syndicate, while three members no longer work at the Island Street store, but have continued to pay their cash.
Mike added: “James (Brennan) has been working here for two years, but no place in the syndicate has come up.
“He is a bit gutted and I feel for him.”
Others in the syndicate who are current Graham employees are Laura Ormiston, 24, of Clovenfords; Neil Tough, 48, of Tweedbank; Michael Hyslop, 54, and Malcolm Brown, 47, both of Galashiels. Other winners are former workmates John Cranston, 57, and Lawrence McPherson, 31, both of Galashiels, and Ashkirk plumber John Grieve, aged 52.
A former Braw Lad, Lawrence now works for a tiling company in Edinburgh and said “disbelief” was his initial reaction to their lottery win.
He added: “I was in the Ladhope Inn when Mike phoned to tell me. I thought he had had too much to drink and had made it up.
“It took a few phone calls to realise he was actually telling the truth for once!
“At that stage it was just disbelief. I got up with a sore head on Sunday and phoned around to check we had won.
“I work in Edinburgh and have kept it quiet so far. It is very surreal and it was hard getting out my bed for work on Monday morning.
“It is not an amount I can retire on at the age of 31, but the money will make a big, big difference to me and I will try to pay my mortgage.”
Meanwhile, Laura Ormiston, daughter of Mike, was responsible for paying for the tickets at Tesco’s Galashiels store last week.
She told us: “Malcolm checks the tickets so he heard first and phoned my house on Saturday night.
“I was drinking with my friends in the house and thought ‘This cannot be happening!’
“It was a nice surprise to say the least.
“I ended up going out for a normal night with my friends and it was not until Monday that it started to sink in.
“I started work at Graham six years ago and took up a place in the syndicate five years ago.
“I have not thought that far ahead, but I will be going on a big holiday with my friends and will then maybe buy a new car.
“We have won small amounts in the past, but I have never won anything before in my life.”
Mike added: “We’re so grateful to Laura for struggling through last week’s snow to buy the tickets. We always prefer to buy them locally so someone can keep them safe.
“It is certainly going to make Christmas a lot more fun this year. We’ve already had our staff party in a local Indian restaurant so we’ll be focusing on our families.
“My eldest son is going travelling and leaves on Christmas morning, so we’ll be having our family celebration the night before. I think we’ll crack open a few bottles of champagne.”
And Mike and co have no plans of quitting their day jobs.
“I know everyone is thinking about what to do with their winnings,” he said. “We’re all keen to help our families and buy a few treats.
“However, we won’t be giving up our day jobs! You’ll find me manning the branch in between Christmas and New Year.”
The syndicate’s winning numbers were 11, 15, 24, 33, 43 and 49.
The last big lottery win in the Borders was also in Galashiels last year when a syndicate of six workers from Sykes claimed £429,807 for matching five numbers and the bonus ball.