Thank goodness this pink ticket failed to win

THE other day while enjoying a stroll in the sunshine on the prom at St Leonards, I glanced down and saw a folded square of pink paper.

Realising it was a lottery ticket I looked round to see if anyone had dropped it, but as no one was nearby, took it home to wait for the results of the Euro Millions to be drawn later that night. The jackpot was £22 million and my feeling of being lucky set my mind in a frenzy and subsequent moral maze.

So many people when asked what their dream is, reply, ‘To win the lottery’... what would I do if I won?

I was overcome with a sense of responsibility, to donate the money, to give it to those in need, especially those whose lives would be changed by even the smallest amount. Watching TV waiting for the draw, I sat through most of Sport Relief, with one cause after another deserving of funding. The people looking the happiest were those going to extraordinary lengths to raise the money for people they will never know.I knew if the ticket had won, that I would have to write to the Observer to see if anyone claimed it. I imagined the pleading letters, the sob stories, the scams, the joy for the person who had legitimately won it and for me if I was given a share. This small piece of pink paper became terrifying. As midnight approached, the numbers were called. None of them matched the ticket; what a relief.

I am grateful to the person who spent £2 on the ticket, allowing me to fantasise over my winnings and I now know I don’t want to win the lottery. The next day I chose to spend my own £2 on visiting the Jerwood Gallery, and felt I got my money’s worth, enjoying looking at the paintings which could easily have remained in a private collection and not been on show to anyone.

I bought fish and chips from the take away opposite and ate them in glorious sunshine on the beach and cycled home through the crowds of people making the most of Hastings on a fine day. If I do make millions I’ll invest in a sunshine machine and maybe give free ice cream to anyone smiling.

PS: I’ve since discovered that finders are not keepers and that found tickets must be reported to Camelot and winnings are not paid out for six months.

ALEX LEADBEATER

Harold Mews, St Leonards