HALIFAX — Raymond Lillington stared at his lottery ticket in disbelief following last Saturday's Lotto 649 draw, thinking he couldn't have won a jackpot worth several million dollars — again.
"I thought, 'oh my God this can't be real,'" the Cape Breton man told reporters Wednesday after collecting his $17.4-million prize with his wife, Gaye, in Halifax.
"So I turned around to Gaye and said 'it's us again!' and she said, 'what?' I said, 'it's us again!'"
Lillington's recent win was the second-largest lottery prize ever awarded in Nova Scotia and it followed his $3.2-million win in 2013.
The 70-year-old retired Parks Canada worker from Dingwall, N.S., said it's hard to believe his good fortune given the odds of winning once — let alone twice.
"Six out of six numbers with the odds that they are — and to do it twice, I was just overwhelmed," Lillington said. "I thought ... I must check it again and after checking it six or seven times, well I thought, I've got to be right."
He said he continued to buy lottery tickets after his first win and joked that he would win again, although he didn't really believe that.
Gaye Lillington said she also didn't believe it when her husband gave her the news.
"I thought he was kidding me, but when I saw the look on his face, it was, 'oh no, here we go again.' It's real," she chuckled.
Raymond Lillington said his first lottery win set the couple up for retirement and allowed them to travel and purchase things such as a new home and vehicles.
The new windfall will mostly go towards helping out their five children and six grandchildren, he said, adding he also intends to support some local organizations.
"We're from a small area in Cape Breton and we have our own small hospitals and stores, and they all need help," he said. "They're there for us and we'd like to be there for them too if we can."
Lillington said he was also happy for the owners of the local store where he bought the ticket — the Cabot Trail Food Market in Cape North. The store will get about one per cent of the winnings — or about $174,000.
When asked if there are any lessons to be learned from his luck at playing the lottery, Lillington was ready with an answer. "If you want a chance, you have to buy a ticket."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2020.
Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press