Lancaster punter wins £150,000 after forgetting girlfriend’s birthday

Rennick with partner Sue at the Betfred shop in Heysham.
Rennick with partner Sue at the Betfred shop in Heysham.
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They say it’s unwise to forget your partner’s birthday - but the mistake left a Galgate man £150,000 better off.

Rennick Hollings forgot the date of his partner Sue Bilcliffe’s birthday.

Rennick celebrates on the seafront by the Eric statue.

Rennick celebrates on the seafront by the Eric statue.

He thought it was December 23 rather than two days earlier.

Consequently when filling in his Irish Lotto slip at a Heysham betting shop he chose the “lucky” numbers 8,14,18,20 and 23 which were the correct birthday dates for his grand-daughter, brother, daughter and his own birthday, but the wrong date for Sue.

Pipe fitter Rennick’s embarrassing gaffe was only revealed when all five numbers came up – and he won the £150,000 jackpot from just a £1 stake.

Sue, a 52-year-old nursing sister at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, who lives in Morecambe, said: “We’ve been together about six years and I really did think he would have known my birthday but guess what on this occasion I’m going to let him off. I’m glad he got it wrong now.”

Now the couple are planning a dream trip to watch England play Test match cricket in the West Indies in January and more holidays in Spain and Italy while Rennick, who is a big fan of all things to do with the 1960s mods subculture, is going to splash £6,000 on a reconditioned iconic Lambretta scooter.

They celebrated the big win at the weekend watching a concert by a Jam tribute band at a club in Accrington.

Rennick, aged 55, also now plans to move from his cottage in Galgate to a bigger home with garage for his beloved mini as well as treats for the rest of family including daughter Nicola, who lives in Heysham.

Rennick had slipped out while visiting Nicola to put on his tiny bet at the nearby Betfred shop in Heysham Road.

He was working away on a contract for Thames Water in Wiltshire when he decided on a whim to check the winning lottery numbers on his phone.

“I have a bit or fun, a bit childish really but I cover up the numbers and look at them one at time, he said.

“I was in my van waiting to start the job and didn’t know what to do.

“I actually ran down the lane trying to find one of my workmates to tell but there was no one around.

“I didn’t have my glasses and thought another set of eyes could check them.

“Anyway I ended up ringing Betfred headquarters and said my numbers are up! Less than five minutes later they had checked everything and the lady said ‘congratulations you’re a winner’. Next I rang Nicola to say I had won £150,000 from £1 – and she just said ‘as if.’

“I used to be into betting on the horses but nowadays I just enjoy a bit of fun on the Irish lottery.

“It’s a hobby that gives me a bit of excitement but now I’m just feeling numb like it hasn’t sunk in.”

Rennick, a bricklayer by trade who is a supervisor with a pipe line contractor company, is a lifelong Leeds United supporter but has vowed not to buy a season ticket for the Championship club with his new found wealth until the club gets back to the big time.

“I have been having a laugh at work with the lads joking that as I’m usually covered in wet mud in trenches – and it just proves the saying that where there’s muck there’s brass.

“I took ten of them out for a slap up breakfast treat on me at a roadside café by way of celebration and they were all joking about me being a Yorkshireman getting a discount for cash.”

Rennick added: “It is fantastic to win so much that will change so many lives.

“It has come at a good time because as a family we’ve had some bad luck and my mother died just before Christmas.”

Betfred boss Fred Done said: “What a jammy one you are Rennick! How you can turn forgetting your loved one’s birthday into a positive takes some beating.

“I thought I’d heard it all in fifty years as a bookie but this tale of good luck has got me chuckling – even though it has seriously hit my bank balance.”