Milton Keynes man scoops £500,000 on Instant Win Lottery - all while his puppy spent a penny

An MK supermarket manager has scooped a half a million pound lottery win while he was letting his dog out.
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Gareth Bradley, 41, was running job interviews from home when he logged onto his National Lottery account for a quick play on the online Instant Win Game, Mega Cashword.

As he pressed the final letter to be revealed in the game,his 16-week-old Springer Spaniel puppy Ruby suddenly demanded to go out.

"She made it very clear she needed to spend a penny. In a situation like that you don’t mess about, so I quickly put the phone down and immediately took her outside," said Gareth.

Gareth, Connor and RubyGareth, Connor and Ruby
Gareth, Connor and Ruby

“Ruby’s penny spent, we came back into the house and as I picked up my phone saw it was flashing £500,000. I just couldn’t work out what had happened, so I logged into my National Lottery account where I saw a balance of £500,000. Turns out, the last letter I pressed was the top prize-winning M!”

Not knowing whether to scream or cry with joy, Gareth instead rang his partner of eight years, Connor Dennis to share the news.

Connor, who is 28, said, “Gareth sounded really shaky as he fought back the tears, saying to me ‘you won’t believe what’s happened’. Given the times we are living through I assumed the worst and that something dreadful had happened.

"I ran out of the open plan office thinking I needed to find somewhere private to commiserate with him, only to discover I needed somewhere private to let out some whoops of delight, but only after he’d sent me a video of the winning message to prove he wasn’t winding me up!”

Gareth and Connor celebrateGareth and Connor celebrate
Gareth and Connor celebrate

Gareth comes from a big and loving family but, with his reputation for staging wind-ups, his three sisters and brother all asked for video evidence of his win when he rang to share the news.

He said: “All my siblings thought it was a joke but now they know it’s real, they are over the moon for us, news of this win has given so many people a boost. We are a really close-knit family who love a laugh and a joke, but we’ve had our tough times too. We lost my mum and dad five years ago, mum in the May and dad in June, so of course we are sad they are not here to be part of this moment.”

For Gareth and Connor, who have both been working throughout the pandemic, their £500,000 National Lottery win is the culmination of a busy few months.

In September, Gareth, who has twice been a proud ‘donor dad’ for very close friends, celebrated the birth of his second son.

This joyful event was closely followed by a new job for Gareth, the purchase of their first home together and finally welcoming Ruby into their lives

“It’s been a crazy time all round, but I think winning £500,000 while your puppy spends a penny has to be the craziest of them all!” said Gareth.

Her and Connor have no plans to give up work and instead they will set aside a lump sum to pay off the mortgage. Connor said,

“We can’t get our heads around how lucky we have been, we’ve only had to pay the mortgage for three months and now have the funds to never have to pay it again.

“We know we’ve been lucky and while we do have a few frivolous plans – a Rolex for me and a Range Rover to replace Gareth’s Kia – we are not going to waste this luck. We have lots of plans to really make the money work hard so that it’s there for our families in the longer term.”

The Mega Cashword Instant Win Game was available to play at and offered a 1 in 2.5 overall chance of winning a prize. The game costs £5 and prizes ranged from £5 up to the top prize of £500,000.

In the current situation, The National Lottery is encouraging everyone to check their tickets online at or by downloading the National Lottery app, and to only buy or check their tickets in retail in line with government guidance. Playing online via the website or app means that your ticket is checked, and you get an email notification if you win a prize. You can also scan your retail tickets on the National Lottery app to check if you're a winner.

By playing any National Lottery game, players help to raise an average of £30M every week for National Lottery Good Causes across the UK. This money helps support arts, community and charity, heritage, education, environment and the sport sectors – everything from the local charity making a difference where you live through to helping our nation’s athletes win Olympic and Paralympic gold medals. To date, more than £42BN has been raised and distributed to National Lottery Good Causes through more than 625,000 individual grants.

This year, thanks to National Lottery players, up to £800M is being used by charities and organisations affected by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak across the communities, the arts, heritage and sport. This includes up to £400M in funding support from the National Lottery Community Fund which is being used to help groups best placed to support people and communities through the crisis – from helping support food banks to causes that combat loneliness and isolation, support for the elderly and projects that aid health in the community.