EUROMILLIONS LOTTERY WINNER STOPS PLAY
When Margaret Loughrey won a £27m EuroMillions jackpot, she promised to use her winnings to help people. However local bowls players and cricketers in Sion Mills might not agree with her.
Margaret Loughrey, 49, from Dunbane, was unemployed when she won the EuroMillions jackpot last December. She purchased the Sion Mills site for around £1m and has planned a multi-million refurbishment turning it into a tourist attraction and creating plenty of jobs for the local community. Part of that purchase also saw her acquire the local cricket pitch and bowling green.
The village’s bowlers have been banned from using their green after they were accused of disrespecting the lottery winner. The EuroMillions lottery winner says: “I was up there one night with a friend and the attitude from the bowler’s wasn’t great. One of them said to me: ‘What are you doing here?’ I just thought ‘Where are the manners?’”
The local cricket team are also upset after they were locked out of their ground. As a result the team has had to forfeit two home games. That meant them being unable to hold a fixture for the first time in their 150-year history.
A spokesperson for Sion Mills Cricket Club this week emphasised that the club remains “dumbfounded” as to why the prohibitions are now in place. “She has swung the axe and this time it’s across all generations,” the spokesperson said. “This isn’t good for anyone in Sion and it’s not good for the clubs.
The club is the oldest and most successful cricket club in the north west of Northern Ireland. It was founded in 1864, under the patronage of the Herdman family, the former mill owners. Forty-five years ago the ground was the venue for the famous match when Ireland beat the West Indies. The Under-11 boys team have also had to forfeit games.
Both clubs hope to be able to sit down with Ms Loughrey in the coming weeks to try and come to a solution to the problem. Not that she seems to be all that keen, saying: “It’s down the line, and it’s something I can deal with later.”
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