A couple who live in a £600,000 Cotswolds home with ponies and chickens have become Britain’s biggest-ever EuroMillions winners after landing a £184million jackpot – as they say they went public because they ‘couldn’t make others keep the secret’.
Joe and Jess Thwaite, a couple from just outside Gloucester in their 40s, won the record-breaking £184,262,899 jackpot with a Lucky Dip ticket on May 10.
The couple, who have been married for 11 years, said they wanted to go public at hotel in Cheltenham this morning as they did not want to put the ‘burden’ of keeping the secret on others.
Joe is a communications sales engineer, while Jess manages the business side of a hairdressing salon she runs with her sister in the affluent riverside town of Tewkesbury.
They have eight-year-old twins together, while Mr Thwaite has two children currently at university from a previous marriage.
Only months ago the couple purchased their new £600,000 home, but said today that their priority is ‘DIY’ jobs around their property, but admitted their two children have ‘always talked about going to Hawaii’.
The house features four bedrooms, a kitchen and breakfast room and lounge area fitted with a fireplace with oak beam mantle and a log burning stove that leads to the garden
At a press conference with television presenter Dermot O’Leary this morning, the couple said their financial situation is ‘not horrendous’, but the cost of living crisis has ‘affected our lives’, adding that they own a lot of animals such as ponies, geckos, chickens and dogs.
Jess said: ‘We have too many things, we’re too busy. We just want to create that kind of lifestyle for our children.
‘We’re right at the bottom because we’ve pushed everything to get this house, and to have our ponies at home and that’s been our dream.’
She added: ‘I’m not saying that it’s horrendous, we love our life, this is what we’ve chosen.’
Joe, 49, admitted that he saw the winning numbers via the National Lottery app as his wife lay asleep and did not wake her – but instead started browsing for properties.
He added: ‘I looked it up and saw we’d won. I saw how much and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t go back to sleep.
‘I didn’t want to wake Jess up so I just laid there for what seemed like forever. I spent some time searching for property with no budget limit, which was a novelty!’
Joe, who is a communications sales engineer, said he will be leaving his job, but had worked up until yesterday.
Jess, meanwhile, manages the business side of a hairdressing salon she runs with her sister in Tewkesbury.
She said she is unsure about leaving the role, adding that it will be a ‘full-time job just managing all of this for quite some time’.
Jess also revealed how her mother believed she was about to inform her she was pregnant when they met up in a car park to inform her of the lottery win.
But she instead told her mother: ‘It’s better than being pregnant!’
Jess, 44, added: ‘She just literally screamed in the car park and burst into tears because even though it’s wonderful and exciting. It’s also a massive relief for everybody that’s been struggling with all their bills and all their things for all this time.’
The couple said they wanted to go public and they did not want to put the ‘burden’ of keeping the secret on others.
Mr Thwaite added that it would be impossible to take someone on an ‘amazing holiday’ without disclosing where they got the money from.
The jackpot record was previously held by an anonymous ticket-holder who banked £170 million in October 2019.
The new record-breakers mark the second EuroMillions jackpot won in the UK this year, with the £109 million jackpot from the draw on February 4 claimed a few days later.
Jess said the inspiration behind their win is her late father – who always played before he passed away.
She added: ‘My dad played the Lottery when we were growing up and he played the same numbers every single week.
‘He died about seven years ago and kind of Joe took on the baton as the one who did the Lottery for our family.
‘So he started off using those numbers, but he’d forget them or get them wrong or something, so we then went to Lucky Dip, so that it was luck.
‘But yeah it’s unbelievable because that’s what my dad dreamed of all his life, and used to say to us frequently “Imagine if you won the Lottery, think about if you won the Lottery”.’
Last Tuesday’s win makes the couple richer than Sir Tom Jones or Harry Kane.
Mrs Thwaite added: ‘The win gives us time to dream which we haven’t had before.
‘We’ve had one week to think about this and we now have time to share lots of experiences and go on adventures with our family and friends.’