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Winners of $14.5M lottery jackpot shun spotlight

Feb 27, 2008, 9:27 am

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Canada 6/49

Norfolk County's newest multi-millionaires are tough to find.

John and Mary Winkworth, a middle-aged couple from Glen Meyer, won more than $14.5 million in Saturday's Lotto 6/49 draw.

The two were unavailable for comment Tuesday, fuelling speculation they are already jet-setting around the world or living it up in a hotel suite in Toronto.

"That's what I'd be doing," said Larry Neville of Neville Gas and Variety in Langton. "If I won millions, you'd know it."

Mary Neville suspects they're hiding out until all the hoopla blows over.

"I don't blame them," she said. "I'm sure they have all kinds of people they don't know calling them."

The new millionaire couple are the talk of the town in Langton and across Norfolk.

"I've had a few people in and that's all they're talking about," said Jim Howse, owner of Howse TV and Appliance.

"I think this is the largest winner we've had in the area," Neville said. "It's very exciting for a small community."

People who know the couple are staying tight-lipped, saying the Winkworths are private and probably don't want publicity.

John Letherby, spokesman for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., said often big winners change their phone numbers.

Others in the community describe the Winkworths as hard working and deserving.

"They were a simple couple," said James Howe, owner of Tax Junction in Langton. "This is probably a big turnaround for them."

The Winkworths were clients of his a few years ago.

"They weren't people you'd see eating a $50 a plate dinner," he said. "I wish them well and hope all that money brings them good things."

Howe said John was self-employed as a logger. Mary worked in the long-term care field, according to a OLG news release.

The winning ticket was bought at Zehrs in Tillsonburg, but the two checked their numbers online, according to the OLG press release.

John said he remained calm about the whole thing.

"I just went back to watching TV," he told the OLG.

Heather Latulippe, customer service representative at Zehrs, verified the numbers for the couple Monday morning.

"She was very shaky but he was calm," said Latulippe, adding the couple went right to Toronto to claim their winnings. "It's very exciting."

Mary told OLG she and her husband would be retiring.

"It's time to enjoy life," she said.

The couple plans to build their dream home, buy new cars and share the rest with their daughter.

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