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Late lotto winner’s generosity praised by community

LOTTO winner, Margaret Loughrey’s generosity has been praised, following her death on Thursday.

Ms Loughrey shot to fame in December 2013 after she scooped £27million on the Euromillions. At the time, the win was the biggest ever jackpot won in Northern Ireland.

On Thursday though, the PSNI said they had received a report of the sudden death of a woman at the Ballycolman Lane area of Strabane. The death was later confirmed as Ms Loughrey.

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A PSNI spokesperson said, “A post mortem is due to take place but at this stage, the death is not being treated as suspicious.”

Speaking in the wake of her passing, Strabane councillor, Paul Gallagher described Ms Loughrey as someone who was generous to a fault.

“She never asked to be a millionaire,” Cllr Gallagher said. “It was thrust upon her but she was very generous with it.

“I knew her before she won the money and I knew her after the money.

“She made all her family millionaires and there was a couple of very close friends, they became millionaires. She was very supportive of her neighbours and they all got a generous donation.

“After that she made charitable donations to local as well as national charities.”

However following that massive windfall in 2013, the Strabane woman’s life was beset by controversy.

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She was sectioned to a psychiatric facility in 2014 and later release on appeal. She paid approximately £1million for the iconic Herdman’s Hill in Sion Mills and disagreements followed with Sion Mills Cricket Club and Sion Swifts Football Club, clubs which were subsequently banned from their pitches by the lotto winner.

She was also ordered to do 150 hours of community service in 2015 after being convicted of assaulting a taxi driver.

In an interview with the Strabane Chronicle in 2019, Ms Loughrey said she had regretted winning the lottery, saying the windfall had sent her to “hell and back.”

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