Croydon lottery winner Gary Cleveland reveals dead friend bagged him the jackpot
A carpenter who bagged a lifechanging lottery jackpot believes his best friend helped him to win from beyond the grave.
Gary Cleveland, 49, of Croydon, landed the £500,000 top prize in the National Lottery Thunderball draw on Friday.
Incredibly, the dad-of-two had weeks vivid dreams about winning the lottery before he actually did.
Mr Cleveland, who lives in the north of the borough, said: "A very dear friend of mine, Andy, died recently and ever since his funeral I’ve been having this very vivid dream that I’ve won the Thunderball top prize.
"He was something of a father-figure to me, helping me to get my carpentry apprenticeship nearly 30 years ago and always a really good mate, he was also my son’s godfather.
"I don’t really believe in ghosts or the like but I can’t helping thinking that this is Andy giving me a massive step-up at a time I really need it."
Mr Cleveland, a regular lottery player, had never won big before. But his dreams had prepared him well for the shock of scooping the jackpot.
He said: "I was sitting in front of the telly with my kids on Friday night when I decided to check the winning Thunderball numbers.
"It's strange but almost as soon as I saw them, I knew I’d won despite it being a Lucky Dip ticket so numbers I wasn’t familiar with.
"Once I’d checked and saw they matched I didn’t go into shock or panic, I simply put the ticket safely back on the shelf so my toddler couldn’t chew it and rang my mate Darren to tell him my dream had come true.
"I might sound very blasé about picking up half a million quid but the dreams I’ve been having are so vivid that it is like I’ve already won ten times before, so I could afford to take this one in my stride",
The self-employer carpenter had been down on his luck before the win - but has no plans to splash out frivolously now.
He said: "Things have not been great during the downturn in the building industry but we’ve managed to keep a roof over our head by being sensible.
"It’s a great feeling to know that I can now provide a safe home for my family, a secure future for my kids and just a few treats along the way."
He now plans to renovate his house, buy a BMW and treat his son and daughter to a trip to EuroDisney.
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