A millionaire Lottery winner who bought a pool table during his unanticipated retirement has earned a bronze medal for England.
Neil Jones, 59, scooped £2.4 million back in late 2010 having previously had just £13 in his pocket.
One of his first purchases following the unexpected windfall was a pool table having previously played as a junior.
He honed his skills after taking a step back from his day job of being a tiler, and this continued through lockdown.
Now Neil has earned himself a bronze medal at the professional level at a competition in Malta.
He took part in the European Blackball Championships earlier this month captaining the England B1 team in the over 50s Masters category.
He has now dedicated the bronze medal to his late dad.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: ‘It’s overwhelming and you just think, I wish my dad was here.
‘It was the most amazing journey and I can’t believe that we won a medal. I am so proud.
‘The [lottery] win allowed me to retire and practise, which I couldn’t have done while I was still working.’
Neil, from Stoke-on-Trent, had just £13 to his name before getting his winnings just before Christmas in 2010.
A celebration party at a pool hall inspired him to take back up the sport from his youth.
Neil and his team played teams from France, Spain, Belgium Ireland and Gibraltar, before losing to Wales in the semi-final round.
He previously said: ‘Winning the lottery allowed me to put those hours in. If I didn’t win, I wouldn’t have been able to buy the table, I wouldn’t have had the time – I’d still be on my hands and knees tiling.’
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