A pub kitchen manager scooped the UK’s biggest ever scratchcard jackpot of £4 MILLION while on his dinner break – but then went back to finish his shift.
Dedicated Amadou Gillen, 46, bought two £10 scratchcards from a newsagents during a 12-hour shift at Wetherspoons.
He lit a cigarette and scratched the first to win £10 – but then the second one revealed he had become a multi-millionaire.
But shocked father-of-two Amadou didn’t tell anyone, and went on to work for another four hours with the card in his pocket, before finishing his shift, last Wednesday.
He only broke the news to his family yesterday (Weds) and while he has splashed out on a new wardrobe, he shopped at TK Maxx because he “still loves a bargain”.
The former McDonalds apprentice from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, is going to spend the cash on trading his one-bed rented flat for a modest three-bed home in Bristol.
He also wants to learn how to drive with a week-long intensive course, but intends to buy a Peugeot while he gets to grips with being on the road.
Speaking today for the first time about his win, delighted Amadou said: “When I saw the number ‘4’ on the card I knew they didn’t pay out £40, so I knew it had to be £4million.
“I scratched off the rest and oh my, I was so excited.
“But I put the card back in my pocket, and went back to finish the rest of my shift.
“It was certainly a long shift that day.
“I didn’t finish until 11.30pm or 12 that night, so had to work for almost four hours knowing I had won.
“I don’t know how I did it.
“People say when they win the lottery they will feel like this, or that, but when you do, you feel different.
“I wanted to celebrate, but I couldn’t. It was a feeling I can’t express.”
Single Mr Gillen, who has two daughters, aged 19 and 22, moved from his native The Gambia more than 20 year ago to Wiltshire.
He has always worked in the restaurant industry, initially as an apprentice at McDonalds, before starting at The Albany Palace in Trowbridge nearly five years ago.
He was working a 12-hour shift last Wednesday (25) when he bought the cards from a nearby McColls, alongside a packet of cigarettes, at around 8pm.
Mr Gillen sat in a staff-only outside area to scratch the cards, and phoned his family in The Gambia at the end of his shift to say he had “got lucky”.
“I was so excited, but I didn’t tell them about the win,” he said.
“I just said I had got lucky and would let them know how lucky in time!”
He put the card – which offers a 1 in 3 chance of winning – in a briefcase back home, until it was verified by lottery officials on Tuesday.
The bubbly pub worker did his last shift on Saturday – still not revealing the win to his bosses – and among the first things he bought were some new clothes.
He said: “I went into work, did my shift 6pm until 10pm, and when I finished I saw my duty manager, handed over my keys, and that was it.
“I have been doing a lot of clothes shopping, and I do enjoy going to TK Maxx because I like to get designer stuff at discount prices rather than going to Gucci.
“I still love a bargain.”
He told his daughter Takysha Smith, 19, yesterday (Weds), while treating her to a meal at Nando’s.
“I called her and told her ‘I have something important to tell you’,” he said.
“She thought it was bad news, so I told her it was good news.
“We got to Nando’s, sat down, and she said ‘tell me now Dad’ so I just said ‘you’re not going to believe this – I won £4million’.
“I took a picture of the card on my phone so I showed it to her. She was quite pleased.”
Mr Gillen plans to do an intense driving course next week, and is going to book a holiday to The Gambia for a huge family party, as well as a trip to Jamaica.
He also wants to put money aside for his eldest daughter to study a science course at university, and doesn’t intend to go back to work.
He said: “This money is a life-changer for me.
“I can now tick all the boxes of everything I’ve ever wanted to do.”
Amadou can now put his eldest daughter Sera Gillen, 22, through university thanks to the £4million win.
He came to the UK from The Gambia in 1993 to study. He worked 42.5 hours-a-week at Wetherspoons, but did not want to reveal his wage.
A recruitment website states the average salary for a Wetherspoons’ kitchen manager is £23,500 per annum.