A man who bought a pool table after winning £2.4million on the lottery will represent England at the European Pool Championships.
Neil Jones, 59, has embarked on an incredible journey after winning the lottery with his partner Julie Kirkham just before Christmas 2010. After landing the £2.4m jackpot, Jones, a former tiler, immediately went out and bought himself a pool table.
Remarkably, 13 years on, Jones is now set to captain England in Malta next month after the jackpot prize allowed him to focus on pool. The Stoke-on-Trent local plays at The Plaza club in Fenton and recently represented England in a Home Nations tournament earlier this year.
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He told BBC Radio Stoke: "Winning the lottery allowed me to put those hours in. If I didn't win, I wouldn't have been able to buy the table, I wouldn't have had the time – I'd still be on my hands and knees tiling. You can't just buy a place in the England team, you've got to put the hours in.”
Neil admitted it took 18 months for the news of the lottery win to sink in, as the former part-time singer in pubs and clubs revealed they only gave everyone £100 for Christmas following the Jackpot.
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He said: “We didn’t spend a penny until the New Year. I stuck to my plan of everyone getting £100 for Christmas – I wanted to get our old life out of the way – January 1, we started a new life. I didn’t tell anyone at first, not until we went public.”
The Stoke ace revealed the support that his late dad gave him, emotionally saying that his dad would have been in Malta supporting him in the upcoming tournament, he added: “My dad was so supportive of me. He was so proud.
"When he was in hospital, I used to tell him the county results every month and he’d say ‘you really want this don’t you? It will come’ and it did – it was really emotional.
"I try to motivate the other boys [on the team], so when I was asked if I wanted to be captain for England, I couldn’t say no to that. I was sobbing, I couldn’t talk. If my dad had been here now, he would be in Malta with me.”
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