Europe

Spain El Gordo: Lottery joy for badlands village

  • 22 December 2011
  • From the section Europe
Media captionA total of 2.5bn euro was being handed out to winners across Spain in El Gordo

The top prize in the world's biggest Christmas lottery has gone to people who bought tickets in a town in the badlands of the Spanish north-east.

Each ticket with the winning number 58268 was worth 400,000 euros (£334,000; $524,000), the state lottery agency said after the El Gordo draw.

All 1,800 winning tickets were sold in Granen, population 2,100, in the arid Los Monegros area of Huesca province.

Celebrating residents danced, sang, embraced and sprayed sparkling wine.

"It's brilliant!" Pilar Azagra, who runs the town's lottery store, told Spanish TV, looking slightly dazed.

"I haven't had time to react, the number came out and then people started flocking to the shop," she said, adding that many in her family had bought El Gordo tickets.

El Gordo, which in English means The Fat One, is worth 2.5bn euros this year.

Several companies in Granen have closed because of Spain's economic crisis, forcing residents to seek employment further afield.

Two housewives' associations in Granen and the neighbouring village of Sodeto were among the winners.

"This is the reward for a very bad year, full of sacrifices and hard effort," Susana Perez, who owns an insurance agency with her husband, told Spanish media in Granen.

"We've worked like mules."