It was like any other Friday night in the pub for 23-year-old George Bates last week – until he decided to get out his scratch card.
After carrying around the lottery ticket for two hours that evening in his pocket, he started to scratch off the markings to see if he had won anything.
To his shock, the young lad from Great Leighs had won £250,000.
“I thought it was 25 grand but then I soon realised there was an extra zero on it,” George said.
“They walked me out the pub and I was shaking, I felt sick. I felt like I was going to throw up.
“Then I went back to the pub and it was prosecco, you can’t buy champagne there so it was prosecco.”
“I pretty promptly downed my pint”
As soon as the rest of the pub, the Dog and Partridge, discovered that George, a digger driver, had won, everyone cheered around him.
“I’d bought the Scratchcard earlier that day, shoved it in my pocket and carried on,” he said.
“I can’t believe I was jumping in and out of the car and all the time with the equivalent of £250,000 in my pocket.
“Once I’d seen what that little piece of card was worth, I pretty promptly downed my pint and headed home to tell my mum and give it to her for safe keeping.”
George said there was a lot of “whooping and shouting” when he told his mum and brother the news.
“I think my mum was in total shock,” he said.
“In shock or not, as soon as I confirmed the win with Camelot and signed the back I gave the Scratchcard to my mum for safekeeping, knowing it was definitely safer with her than me!
“It was an amazing feeling all weekend, rounded off nicely with me being able to treat my mum and two brothers to a slap-up Sunday lunch at the pub.”
“We’re going to have one hell of a Christmas!”
Being only 23-years-old, the big win has opened many doors up for George.
The first thing he plans to buy is a car – “something that makes a bit of noise”.
But after such an awful year in 2020, the big win has certainly paved the way for an exciting Christmas.
“This really is a life-changing opportunity for someone of my age, and if I do it right, it will help set me up for life,” he said.
“I’ve just completed a training course so I am licensed to operate larger machinery, now I can go self-employed almost immediately.”
George added: “Long-term, I’d like to travel, there’s a crazy plan to maybe go to North America and drive diggers in the goldfields.
“Given my luck on this Scratchcard, maybe I should try my luck there!”
In the short term, George will also invest his money, as well as maybe treat the family to a hot tub for the back garden.
“It’s been a rubbish year, this is a pretty awesome way to finish it off, we’re going to have one hell of a Christmas!,” George added.
“It was without a doubt the best weekend of my life.”
George’s winning card was the £250,000 Gold Scratchcard from The National Lottery. It offers a 1 in 3.99 overall chance of winning a prize.