It was like winning the lottery twice over for Craig Shearer when he and his Dublin Bus colleagues collected their €23.8m EuroMillions jackpot in Dublin yesterday.
Craig, 51, was diagnosed with leukaemia in June 2014 but, as he put it, is now out of the “danger zone” thanks to the care he received at the Mater Hospital in Dublin.
“I feel good. I am out of the danger zone. It is like winning the lottery twice. I have to think which one is the better one,” said Craig, a married man with three children.
He was one of the 22 “Euro Drivers” who arrived at the National Lottery headquarters to collect their big win.
The red carpet had been rolled out on Abbey St for the happy group and members of their families when they arrived on a special Dublin Bus.
The group had travelled from the Broadstone bus depot in Phibsborough, and nobody had any doubt as to who was on it — the bus had ‘winners on board’ plastered across the doors and windows.
Craig said but for Dr Michael Fay and his team at the Mater, he would not be toasting his good fortune. “This is a second win for me,” he said.
However, he was also sad that his father, who passed away two months ago, could not be with him to celebrate his good fortune. “I would have loved him to be here today,” said Craig.
The syndicate members have over 700 years’ service with Dublin Bus between them, and Craig is one of the younger members.
Asked how he learned that they had won the EuroMillions jackpot last Friday, Craig said a colleague phoned him the following day and asked if he was sitting down — he had some news.
At first, Craig did not believe the group had won the top prize, but he had a copy of the numbers at home and his wife checked them and confirmed that they had.
But it was only when the group came through the doors of the National Lottery headquarters that Craig realised he was not dreaming.
Joking that there could be some nice new cars outside the depot next week, Craig said he was going to think about what he would spend the money on.
“There are a few things I would like to do with it but it is not enough to retire on,” he said. Topping his to do list is a bit more travel. “I have travelled a lot but not as much as I want to,” he said.
Dublin Bus lotto syndicate members arrive at Lotto HQ to collect €23.8m chequehttps://t.co/AFjXRPEb3i— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 7, 2016
Craig was one of three members of the syndicate who decided to talk to the media; the other two were John Brady, 63, from West Dublin and David Doherty, 51, from Finglas.
John said the syndicate had been playing together for 17 years and were known as the Euro Drivers Syndicate. They had a pool of previous winnings, and it was the first time they had taken money from it.
“At time, Christmas, if there was one of the lads were out sick or had a bereavement in the family, we would make a collection, put whatever we had in the kitty, and give it to them as a donation,” said John
He said all but one of the group worked for Dublin Bus — one member had retired last January but was paid up until November. The rest planned to continue working.
He said management at Dublin Bus were “over the moon” for them. “We could not praise them more for the way they looked after us in the last couple of days,” he said of the company.
John did not know how he would spend his winnings. He only has a couple of years of his working life left but is glad it was spent with Dublin Bus.
“Dublin Bus is a great company to work for and long may it last,” he said.
David said he planned to spend his money on a new car and travelling with his wife. “I have Cuba booked already so we will go somewhere else.”
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