Mother celebrates surviving tumour op by buying Lotto ticket, wins Euromillions

Maggie Stanley, who sold the winning ticket
Maggie Stanley, who sold the winning ticket

A mother who felt lucky after surviving a tumour operation in the US has described how she rang her daughter back home to insist she bought a lottery ticket - and won €72.5million.

Sonia Davies, 53, who was in Florida with partner Keith Reynolds, 55, recovering from an operation to remove the tumour from her parathyroid gland, said: "I had my operation on Wednesday and they told me that if it hadn't been removed it would have been fatal.

"I got the all-clear straight after the operation, so as you would imagine, we were on cloud nine."

And she added: "When we heard about the EuroMillions jackpot, I thought we were on a roll so why not?"

Describing what happened next, Ms Davies, who had combined the operation with a holiday, said: "We called up my daughter, Courtney, to ask her to go and buy a ticket.

"But because she was travelling at the time we called Stephanie instead as something told us we needed to get a ticket."

Sales executive Stephanie, 23, whose 30-year-old boyfriend Steve Powell is also part of the syndicate, said: "I thought mum was mad calling me from holiday but they were so insistent I knew we had to do it.

Stephanie Davies and Steve Powell

"It was a bit of a mad dash to get the tickets because mum's call came in late on Friday.

"My car was blocked in the drive by my boyfriend Steve's, so to save time I made him drive me to buy a ticket instead of moving mine."

The couple headed to the Overmonnow Garage in Monmouth and bought six lucky dips for Friday's draw - but did not check their tickets until the early hours of Sunday morning.

Mr Powell said: "We were laughing and joking about the lottery. Steph remembered she had bought a ticket. She said 'If I shout down it means we've won the lottery and if not, I've gone to bed'.

"She came down crying."

Stephanie added: "As soon as I saw that ticket I had my hands over my eyes, I was shaking, I was crying,

"I said to Steve 'for once in my life I am not even joking'.

"We checked the ticket about 10 times over.

"We locked all our windows and doors and spoke in hushed voices just in case someone could hear that we had won."

She then phoned her mother, who was waiting to board her delayed flight home.

Admin assistant Sonia said: "All I could hear was Steph sobbing down the phone and the odd muffled word. I thought she'd told me she'd lost her dog.

"Then I heard Steve shouting 'we've won £61 million'.

"We put them on speaker phone so Keith and I could both listen, but realised everyone in the airport could hear so we huddled round a bin while we checked the numbers and realised we really had won.

"I can remember saying 'if we don't make it home just make sure you spend it all'. It was the longest flight of our life."

The home of Sonia Davies

Stephanie then phoned up her 19-year-old sister Courtney, the fifth member of their syndicate, to break the news at 1.45am.

Describing their conversation, Courtney, who is studying psychology at the University of Southampton, said: "We kept repeating 'oh my God' to each other, over and over.

"In the end we had to say bye and hang up as we were so in shock we weren't actually talking to each other."

The family - who hail from Monmouthshire in south east Wales - said they were still considering what to do with their £12,220,488 shares of the £61,102,442 jackpot.

Stephanie and her partner bought their first home together at Christmas so they plan to finish decorating the bathroom and may take a trip to the Caribbean.

Courtney wants to complete her degree before deciding what to do next but said she is planning on buying an electric toothbrush and a new car to replace her VW Fox, which has wind-up windows and no air con.

Her boyfriend Kieran, a student at Reading University, is hoping she will get the leak in his car fixed.

Ms Davies and Mr Reynolds, a regional director, who live near Ross-on-Wye, will share their win with family and friends - though she would like a new oak-framed carport for their home.

The winning numbers from the EuroMillions draw on Friday were 1, 21, 26, 40, 50 and Lucky Stars 2 and 4.