Lottery couple deserve their big win say Hartlepool family and friends

Katrina Smith says her parents deserve their lottery win.
Katrina Smith says her parents deserve their lottery win.

The Hartlepool family and friends of a couple who scooped £115million on the EuroMillions jackpot say they deserve their win.

Frances and Patrick Connolly, who lived in the town for 25 years before moving to Ireland around three years ago, hit the jackpot on New Year's Day.

Frances and Patrick Connolly at their press conference.

Frances and Patrick Connolly at their press conference.

Their eldest daughter, Katrina Smith, who still lives in the former family home in Tristram Avenue, said she is delighted for her parents and they really deserve this win.

The 31-year-old tutor, who is married with two sons, said: "I really can't think of a more deserving pair, because they have helped out a lot of people over the years.

"I am just so pleased for them. I told them I don't want anything, but I know they are a very generous pair. I am pleased for my kids."

Katrina said the news came as a massive shock to all the family and it really hasn't sunk in.

She said: "I couldn't believe it when my mam phoned to tell me, it just doesn't seem real. Then I saw them on the television celebrating and it was amazing.

"They are a very down to earth couple and when they said they celebrated with a cup of tea I can well believe that."

Frances and Patrick, who moved to Moira in Northern Ireland for Patrick's work, were in the town shortly before Christmas to visit family and friends completely unaware of how their New Year was to start.

The couple, who are also parents to twin daughters, Fiona and Natalie, 24, have already pledged to support Hartlepool's St Francis FC club, which Frances was heavily involved with.

Friend and neighbour, Maxine Duncan, 50, who lived next door to the couple for more than ten years, said she was delighted for them.

She said: "Frances is bubbly and outgoing and Paddy is more quiet, but a real gentleman. It you ever needed anything they would be there for you."

At the press conference announcing the win, Frances, 52, said: "This is a massive sum of money and we want it to have a huge impact on the lives of other people we know and love as well as on our future too.

"This win gives us the chance to really make a difference for our family and friends."

Her 54-year-old businessman husband told the press conference the win felt 'unreal' and they struggled to take it in.
The couple, who have been together for 30 years and also have three grandchildren, are still deciding how to treat themselves.