I tell people they’ve won the lotto jackpot – I’m always getting sworn at… but you could accidentally miss out | The Sun
WE’VE all dreamt about what it might be like to be told you’ve won the lottery but for Carly Troullis it’s all part of the day job.
The mum-of-one joined The Health Lottery 11 years ago and has been changing people’s lives for a living ever since.
Carly, from Thurrock, Essex is tasked with the role of telling jackpot winners they’ve won, with high-tier prizes worth £10,000 to £475,000 up for grabs.
Carly, who first joined the finance department of The Health Lottery before moving to the marketing team six years ago, has heard it all when it comes to contacting those lucky enough to bag the jackpot prize – obscenities included.
Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, she reveals how most winners think they’re being ‘scammed’ and will often put the phone down on her.
But while many can be skeptical at first, her conversations can provide plenty of tear-jerking moments too.
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Carly admits around 70 per cent of the time, people will often block her calls and won’t answer, choosing instead to process their claim themselves through The Health Lottery’s contact centre.
Carly says she’ll usually call back a second time once the news they’ve won has finally sunk in and makes sure she explains everything ‘thoroughly’ to reassure them.
“It’s always daunting because you never know how our winners are going to react,” she says.
“People feel that they’re being scammed all the time now and are rightly on the alert.
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“You do get people who swear and put the phone down on you.
“If someone phones you up to tell you that you’ve won the jackpot, it isn’t an everyday call.
“Most of them haven’t even checked their emails when I call them the first time, so the news they’ve won big is a shock to them.
“Normally, if they’ve got doubts, I go through the draw that they’ve won and the numbers they’ve matched."
Don't tell them everything
Carly said she didn't give everything away to her winners.
“I don’t give them any other information apart from telling them to go away and look on our website," she said. "Usually they go and verify it themselves, which is when I’ll give them a second call.
“I’ll usually wait for around 30 minutes to an hour, so it can really sink in for them.”
Despite being at the end of some choice words at times, Carly insists there have been moments where her exchanges with winners have left her with ‘goosebumps’.
“Sometimes I’m telling people they’ve won £10K – enough to buy a new car – and sometimes it’s a huge, life-changing amount like £250,000,” she says.
“That can take their breath away.”
Big money winners
Just this Monday Carly told someone they’d bagged £475,000.She said: “This week, I came into work after a week’s holiday to the news that we’d had our first winner of our biggest ever £475,000 Megadraw jackpot.
“It was a direct debit winner and as they’d been at a family event all weekend, they hadn’t checked their emails. I think that was the best Monday morning at work ever – telling someone they’ve won nearly half a million pounds.”
Carly says that hearing how much the jackpot wins can be a highly touching experience.
“Our most recent £250K winner Andrew had a very emotional story,” Carly says.
“His wife is really poorly and told us it was such a massive relief to her to know that Andrew would always be safe and secure now.
“You get goosebumps. You feel so happy that you’ve made someone’s day.
“We had a £10,000 winner recently who burst into tears on the phone.
“[These calls] far outweigh being told to ‘F off’ on phone calls. For a lot of people the win represents security. They’re not going to splash the cash.”
I won the lotto – TWICE!
Another lucky player was Frank Spratt who won £67,000 seven years after winning a £31,449 jackpot in 2015.
The tutor from Blyth, Northumberland, Frank decided to donate a lot of his winnings to charities. Carly explained: "The second time round [winning] came when his wife Ann had had cancer and was unable to work as much as she had, so it’s taken the pressure off them.
"They can enjoy the money even more.
"He’s also made a donation to his local boxing club and wants to give back to the charities who helped Ann and his grand-daughter when she had leukaemia.
"They’re really deserving winners and we’re always so happy when such deserving people have won.”
Speaking to The Daily Star earlier this year, Frank discussed winning again: “It’s absolutely fabulous to have won this prize. Totally unexpected.
“I was at home, working, when someone from The Health Lottery called to tell me I’d won a motorhome, or the cash equivalent.
“I didn’t believe it at first. In fact, I thought it was a hoax but soon discovered it was real. I think I lost my voice at that point
“I’ve been playing The Health Lottery since it was launched.”
As for how he managed to pick the winning numbers twice, Frank admitted to choosing the same numbers out of “laziness”, and added: “The numbers I picked have a sequence. Primarily birthdays, which everyone uses. It’s been quite successful!”
And she still gets nervous
Despite having called dozens of winners, Carly says that she’s still apprehensive before every call.
“I always get nervous before I call them,” she says.
“It’s a special thing to win the jackpot, whatever the size of the prize, so you want to make the winners feel amazing.
“Our winner Andrew is IT savvy, so he was very dubious. He didn’t believe it until I met him in The Savoy Hotel a week later.
“It took a lot of hand-holding and reassuring. Before meeting me Andrew’s wife was like, 'these are really generous fraudsters if it is fraud – they’re putting us up in The Savoy for two nights'.
“One of the best ones I’ve ever had was a couple from Chelmsford, Tim and Alison. They won £250,000. We presented them with a cheque at their house, and took a film crew along with us.
“Tim had had to retire from his job at the BritishTransport Police on medical grounds and at the time was on benefits.
“They were struggling and were going to move house to save money.
“Tim wanted to surprise her and so didn’t tell her until we arrived.
“You could see she was really confused, but then we told her they’d won £250,000. Being there face to face, seeing how happy that win made her, that has to be my best one.”
Carly adds: “I love my job. It’s really rewarding. If I’m having a busy day and there’s lots of pressure, I remind myself we’re doing really good work. It keeps you focused.
“To me, the lottery is a way people can have a little bit of fun which helps other people enormously.”
It helps charities too
As well as speaking to winners, Carly works closely alongside the charities funded through The Health Lottery too, supporting a variety of projects from theatre groups for people with Down’s Syndrome to a project that helps amputees to grass root sports.
Carly credits The Health Lottery for supporting people at local level, with the money raised used to fund grants for smaller charities and ensure that those who “don’t often get the support from bigger charities” still receive the vital support they need.
“A lot of charities are there for when something bad has happened. Whereas, we go to such a grass root, local level. Fundamentally, the reason why we were set up is to give back to these people.
“Our last few winners have all said that it feels like they’re giving back to charity by playing. Everyone wins, as cheesy that is.”
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The Health Lottery’s Big Win offers five weekly draws, each with a jackpot of £25,000, and players are able to get their hands on thousands of other prizes including biweekly free second chance prize draws.
Every £1 play for a weekly Wednesday draw will also enter the player into a free prize draw for a cash prize of £100,000 – and on Saturday for a £475,000 Megadraw. See www.healthlottery.co.uk
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