Northern Ireland

EuroMillions winner Frances Connolly saves sister's home

Frances and Patrick Connolly Image copyright PA
Image caption Frances Connolly and her husband said they will share their £115m fortune

The sister of Northern Ireland's biggest lottery winner has said the windfall has saved her family home.

Sharon Bordessa put her house on the market in 2017 when she moved into her mother's home to care for her.

The sale was due to be completed in the coming weeks.

Mrs Bordessa's sister Frances Connolly stepped in to stop the sale after she and husband Patrick won almost £115m in the New Year's Day EuroMillions draw.

"I just found out on Thursday morning," Sharon told BBC Radio Foyle.

"Frances phoned me and said 'are you sitting down?'

"She said she had some good news: 'Me and Paddy have won the Euromillions and you don't have to sell your house'," she said.

"I don't know if I believed her at first.

"Our mum passed away a year ago but my children and I had moved from our home back to Frances' family home, where she had been born, to live with mum.

"Mummy wanted me to buy her home. I couldn't do that until our house sold."

She said an offer short of the asking price had been accepted and the sale was progressing because "we just needed to sell".

"But that then left me short in buying our original home," she added.

"It is two homes really that have been saved."

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Media captionFrances and Patrick Connolly recount how they realised they had picked the winning numbers

The Connollys - who have three daughters and three grandchildren - said after their win that they have made a list of 50 people with whom they intend to share their good fortune.

The couple, who live in Moira in County Down, bought the ticket online.

Mrs Bordessa, who lives in The Glebe, near Strabane in County Tyrone, told the Irish News she had been ringing around her relatives in "total and utter shock".

She said that generosity is typical of her sister.

"That wouldn't be something that they just said to look good, that is something that is totally genuine," she said.

It has also been revealed that a children's football club in Hartlepool will be among those to benefit.

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