Natu Patel is one of the many Patels who own corner shops across Britain, but he has suddenly become the centre of attention: his shop in Worcester may have sold a lottery ticket worth £33 million.
Two tickets matched the six winning numbers in the National Lottery’s Lotto jackpot worth £66 million on January 9. A couple from Scotland claimed half the jackpot, but the second winner has not contacted organisers.
This has sparked hundreds of claims, with a woman in Worcester claiming her winning ticket mistakenly went through the washing machine, which erased the barcode and other details. Her claim and those of others are being verified.
But Patel, 64, was thrust into the limelight since it is believed locally that the winning ticket was sold through his Ambleside News in Warton, on the outskirts of Worcester. He has never sold a lottery ticket that has won more than £25,000.
Camelot, the lottery organiser, confirmed the second winning ticket was bought in Worcester.
Patel and his wife have been running the shop for 27 years. As residents of the closely-knit community in Worcester await the identity of the winner, Patel is besieged by journalists from London and elsewhere.
He said it would be “wonderful” if the winning ticket was bought in his shop – though he wouldn’t know if it was unless he scanned it through the lottery machine. “We sell a lot of tickets so I hope the winning ticket was bought here. Camelot called me today to say that the press might contact me. It was completely out the blue and it sounded quite mysterious,” he said.
A Camelot spokesman said: “Given the interest in the missing £33m ticket-holder, we have received hundreds of claims of this nature. All of these are currently being considered on a case-by-case basis, and we will follow up with all claimants directly to advise them whether their claim will be investigated further.”
Andy Carter, winners advisor for Camelot, told a news conference in Worcester: “We are still awaiting the winner of the biggest Lotto jackpot. Today is about encouraging people to check their bags, down the side of the sofa, or anywhere where they might have misplaced it. We want to unite the life-changing prize with its owner. It’s an awful lot of money that will change someone’s life.”