“It was a sign from mum and I still can’t believe it.”
Those were the words of Kelly Firth, who scooped a lottery win when her dead mum’s numbers came up.
Kelly bought her mum Carol’s Lotto Hotpicks tickets each week, before the 65-year-old passed away.
But she almost missed out on the prize, after ripping up the ticket and throwing it in the bin.
The 44-year-old continued the tradition after finding the numbers written on a card while clearing her mum’s flat months later, buying a line on Wednesday and Saturday.
Lottery ticket torn up and thrown in the bin
When her numbers didn’t come up on the first draw, she ripped up the ticket – but was astonished when three numbers came up on the weekend draw.
Then, in what Kelly described as a ‘sign’ from her beloved mum, while she was celebrating and shouting to Carol’s ashes on her TV stand, her mum’s favourite song - You’re Simply the Best by Tina Turner - came on the radio.
However, after tearing up the ticket, grandmother-of-four Kelly had to hunt through the flat’s communal bins to find the scraps and put them back together.
She found them, and after piecing them together, was able to claim her £1,600 prize.
"I still can’t believe I won with mum’s numbers,” said Kelly, of Halifax.
"My daughter and I would nip to the shop for mum every week for her lottery. She had the same numbers on her little card that she gave me and always told me to put both sides on the numbers.
"We did the same numbers for mum for years and never - never did she win. I decided to carry them on in remembrance of mum.
"I went to my local shop about two months after she passed and placed them on two tickets for Wednesday and Saturday’s Lotto Hotpicks draw.
"I couldn’t believe I won when mum never did, and I just knew she was still around looking after me when the numbers came up.
"I’m still in shock and always will be. It was a sign from mum and I still can’t believe it."
Lucky lottery numbers
Carol, who had a number of health issues, passed away in May last year. She played the numbers – 7, 17 and 37 – each week, letting the machine at the shops generate the last of the five numbers on the ticket.
Carol would do this twice, producing two sets of nearly identical numbers, and placed them for the Wednesday and Saturday draws.
Kelly did the same and didn’t win on Wednesday, so tore up the tickets, but three days later had TWO wins with 7, 17 and 37.
Each prize was worth £800, netting her a total of £1,600.
Kelly said: "Watching the TV on Saturday night, I recognised mum’s numbers but I’d already ripped up the tickets and binned them.
"My heart dropped. I was jumping for joy one minute, telling mum we had won and that I knew she was around because she knew I needed this, and then panicking the next.
"I’d only just put my black bin out so I jumped in the big bin outside and pulled every black bin liner out and searched every one until I found the tickets which luckily still had the barcode intact.
"I was shouting to mum that we’d won, and I put the radio on to celebrate, and mum’s favourite song which I played at her funeral was playing.
"It just confirmed that mum really was still there. I couldn’t believe it."
Kelly took her ripped up tickets to her local shop where a shop assistant helped to piece them back together, before handing over the cash.
She spent the winnings on a family trip to Blackpool and believes her mum would have loved to know her numbers had brought joy.
Mum-of-two Kelly added: "I took my little family on a little trip to Blackpool with the winnings; my daughter Demi, 26, and my four grandsons – Harley, 10; Coby Jay, eight; Addison Rio, five, and Kylan, four.
"My mum loved Blackpool and I know it would have meant a lot to her that her numbers helped us make some special memories.
"Mum was my best friend, I miss her every day and I can’t believe her numbers brought us so much luck. It was like she was still here with us.
"She was certainly looking down on us. All I knew was that she was still around, looking after her family."