Lotto winner and ‘punching above weight’ champ spends millions on autistic kids

A couple who won a “Punching Above Your Weight” competition before scooping the £1million jackpot have spent the winnings on their autistic children.

Darren Donaghey, 34, and his beautiful wife Kate, 29, became millionaires four years ago after picking up a Monopoly Classic scratch card when they popped to their local shop for milk.

Ex-call-centre worker Darren revealed the top prize isn’t the only thing the pair have won after Metro Radio listeners voted him and Kate the most mis-matched couple in the looks department.

Unlike the coveted award, the Lotto win allowed the couple to transform the lives of their severely autistic children and move into a £460,000 five-bedroom home.

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Kate admits the win allowed the couple to make long-term plans for the children who may never be independent.

The 29-year-old said: “We wanted to look after our family and friends.

“That’s the best feeling, but we knew we had to make long-term plans for the children.

“We got financial advice, and knew we had to be careful.

“They may not be independent, so there will have to be support.”

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Kate and Darren’s lives changed forever in September last year when Darren popped to the shop and the ticket caught his eye.

Ex-call centre worker Darren scratched the ticket in the car and screamed when he realised he had won.

Speaking about the win, he said: “I am probably the luckiest man in the world.

“I couldn’t actually believe it when I was looking at a scratch card which was worth £1million and I literally had £1million in my hand!

“I just screamed but I also felt numb. I just couldn’t comprehend what was happening.”

The incredible win has allowed Kate to help out her parents Diane and Alan, and siblings Avril and Steven as well as Darren's brother who moved into their £50,000 council estate home.

Darren said: “You don’t want to waste it.

“We have had focus on the long term, that’s why we have not bought a flash car.”

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Darren said winning the controversial “Punching Above Your Weight” competition didn’t come as a surprise.

He said: “It’s not unusual to be out together and other guys go to innocently start chatting Kate up, thinking that I couldn’t possibly be with her.

“Even when we are out shopping at Asda I get these funny looks from blokes and I know what they are thinking.

“Having put up with this for years, I knew we had a decent chance of winning.”

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