A father-of-five taxi driver scooped an incredible £24million Lotto jackpot – and now plans to swap his cab for a Ferrari, buy a mansion with a pool and book a trip to Vegas.
Amo Riselli, 50, from Gloucester, who lost his partner, Donna Sciberras, to a heart attack four years ago, won £24,501,283 after matching five main numbers and the bonus ball in the must-be-won Lotto draw last Wednesday on his first New Year’s Eve spent off work.
One of his five daughters, 21-year-old Bethany Sciberras, paid tribute to her mother, saying she would have ‘loved’ the happy news.
Bethany said: ‘We’ve been going out for dinner every night since hearing on Friday. I heard at work when people started ringing me on my break – I was in shock really.
‘On Saturday we went out to a local place and yesterday we were out in Bella Italia. My dad wanted to keep it quiet at first but then the word got out and he wanted to go public.’
She added: ‘We are sad not to have our mother here, she would have loved the news.’
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Maria was given the responsibility of keeping the ticket in a safe place and she stored it in a glass jar in the cupboard, checking it was still there every time she walked by.
The main numbers were 18, 36, 48, 57, 58, 59 and the bonus ball was 50.
The new multi-millionaire did not have all six numbers but the top prize had to be won, so the jackpot rolled down to those who had matched five numbers and the bonus ball – which only he did.
Christmas continued as normal and the family shared a glass of champagne during new year celebrations – just like every year, even though they knew about the jackpot win.
As it was a busy time over the festive period, Mr Riselli still had a few regular taxi runs to do before he decided to hang up his car keys for good and retire.
‘I will miss all my friends at work as we really have a laugh together, but I’ve decided I’m going to retire – just because now I can,’ he said.
Mr Riselli is still overwhelmed with the enormity of his win, but reality is now kicking in with news of his luck spreading as far as Italy, where his parents are originally from, and people getting in touch to congratulate him.
After treating family and friends, Mr Riselli is planning on moving house.
He wants a four bedroom home with a swimming pool but still in the Gloucester area, where he has lived all of his life.
He is also going to celebrate by arranging a big get together as a thank you for all his colleagues from the Grosvenor taxi rank, where he was self-employed for 12 years.
A holiday to Las Vegas is on the cards, but more than anything else, he just wants to have a great time with his family.
Mr Riselli’s niece, Becca Scriberras, posted this message on Instagram following his win, writing, ‘Only good times ahead now, would be a dream to have our beautiful auntie sharing the happiness with you’
The new multi-millionaire did not have all six numbers but the top prize had to be won, so the jackpot rolled down to those who had matched five numbers and the bonus ball – which only he did. Mr Riselli is pictured celebrating with his family, including his mother, Maria, middle
Mr Riselli is pictured alongside his partner and the mother of his children, Donna Sciberras, who died four years ago from a heart attack
Addressing the media at the Hatherley Manor Hotel, near Gloucester, he told how he always buys three lines for the Lotto draws on Wednesday and Saturday and saves up a batch to get them all checked at the same time.
Mr Riselli wants a four bedroom home with a swimming pool but still in the Gloucester area, where he has lived all of his life
After scanning the first ticket, the terminal in his local shop made an unusual noise and Mr Riselli was told he had matched five main numbers plus the bonus ball and should contact Camelot.
Taking the printout from the machine, he ran next door to his sister Lisa’s hair salon and excitedly shouted he had won the lottery, thinking at first he had pocketed a £240,000 win.
He said: ‘I try to get my tickets checked in the same shop and I have always said: ‘One day this machine is going to start smoking red hot because I will have hit the big one.’
‘I can’t believe that it’s actually happened to me for real! I then called my brother Marco. I was shaking like a leaf and I told him I’d won £240k.
‘He said he didn’t understand how that could be as he’d already checked his own ticket and didn’t remember that winning amount.
‘He asked what numbers I’d got and when I told him he cried: ‘You’ve won the whole jackpot of £24 million. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m absolutely over the moon.’
Mr Riselli said: ‘I’m not going to play the lottery any more, as I’ve already conquered that ‘big win’ – it is someone else’s turn now.’
‘I may now be a multi-millionaire but I am still the same normal person I always was, just with a bit more loose change in my pocket.’