Northern Ireland

Do you live next door to a secret millionaire?

Image caption The McKibben family won over £1m as recently as August

The luck of the Irish, a fondness for a punt or just a statistical anomaly?

Whatever it is, it is definitely an eye-catching statistic.

More than 50 people have become millionaires in Northern Ireland as a result of the National Lottery.

Operator Camelot has revealed that since the lottery started 16 years ago, 53 winning ticket holders have come from Northern Ireland.

The McKibben family from Kilkeel were the most recent instant millionaires, just a matter of weeks ago.

Other high profile winners have been Belfast grandmother Iris Jeffrey, who won £20.1m seven years ago. At the time it was the largest single National Lottery win in the UK.

There was also former bus driver Peter Lavery - he picked up £10.2m 15 years ago.

Mr Lavery has become a successful businessman and is now managing director of the Belfast Distillery Company. He has also raised money for several local charities.

But alongside the well-known winners there are also those that ticked the 'no publicity' box when picking up their giant cheque.

Camelot's figures reveal that 37 people in Northern Ireland have won the lottery and managed to keep it under wraps.

Perhaps it "didn't really change them" like everyone promises?

Either way, the organisers are only too happy to help the winners adjust to their new lives.

"When winners go public, it really does show that the dreams come true more frequently than people might think," said a spokesman.

"However, if winners wish to remain anonymous we will do everything possible to ensure that happens."

So, while the National Lottery promises "it could be you", it could also have been the family next door and they have decided not to tell you.

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