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Essex digger driver ‘set up for life’ after £250k scratchcard win

PUBLISHED: 17:51 04 November 2020 | UPDATED: 19:14 04 November 2020

Digger driver George Bates, of Great Leighs in Essex,  who won £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard. Picture: National Lottery/PA Wire

Digger driver George Bates, of Great Leighs in Essex, who won £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard. Picture: National Lottery/PA Wire

A 23-year-old digger driver from Essex is ending 2020 on a high after winning £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard – with plans to spend it on a hot tub for his garden.

Digger driver George Bates, of Great Leighs in Essex,  who won £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard. Picture: National Lottery/PA WireDigger driver George Bates, of Great Leighs in Essex, who won £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard. Picture: National Lottery/PA Wire

George Bates, of Great Leighs, bought the winning gold scratchcard at his local post office on Friday, October 30, realising a few hours later that he had bagged a quarter of a million pounds.

“That first pint on a Friday is always something to look forward to - even these days when we are social distancing - but, I can tell you, winning £250,000 makes it quite a bit sweeter,” said Mr Bates, who is a heavy plant operator.

“I’d literally just got a pint and sat down at my table when I remembered the scratchcard I’d bought a bit earlier.

“As I revealed the £250,000 prize symbol, I leapt up and started to shout and cheer, I was buzzing!”

Digger driver George Bates, of Great Leighs in Essex,  who won £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard. Picture: National Lottery/PA WireDigger driver George Bates, of Great Leighs in Essex, who won £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard. Picture: National Lottery/PA Wire

The pub manager asked an excited Mr Bates to sit down, before he showed him the winning scratchcard.

“I’d bought the scratchcard earlier that day, shoved it in my pocket and carried on,” he said.

“I can’t believe I was jumping in and out of the car and all the time with the equivalent of £250,000 in my pocket.

“Once I’d seen what that little piece of card was worth, I pretty promptly downed my pint and headed home to tell my mum and give it to her for safekeeping.

Digger driver George Bates, of Great Leighs in Essex,  who won £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard. Picture: National Lottery/PA WireDigger driver George Bates, of Great Leighs in Essex, who won £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard. Picture: National Lottery/PA Wire

“Telling my mum was epic, my brother was there too, and we were just whooping and shouting.”

He treated his mother and two brothers to Sunday lunch and is making plans for the future, with a hot tub, travelling to North America and investing high on his list.

He said the money is a “life-changing opportunity” for someone of his age, adding it could “set him up for life”.

He said: “It’s been a rubbish year, but this is a pretty awesome way to finish it off, we’re going to have one hell of a Christmas!”

Digger driver George Bates, of Great Leighs in Essex,  who won £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard. Picture: National Lottery/PA WireDigger driver George Bates, of Great Leighs in Essex, who won £250,000 on a Lottery scratchcard. Picture: National Lottery/PA Wire

Mr Bates has recently completed a training course so is now licensed to operate larger machinery and hopes to go self-employed as soon as possible.

“Long term, I’d like to travel, there’s a crazy plan to maybe go to North America and drive diggers in the goldfields,” he said.

“Given my luck on this scratchcard, maybe I should try my luck there!”


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