A FACTORY worker from North Somerset, who has always been convinced he’d win big on The National Lottery, is tickled pink that he can finally open the bottle of bubbly he’s been saving for when his numbers came up - becoming Weston-super-Mare's second winner in just a few weeks.

Brian Courtney, 65, and his wife Julie, 62, scooped the £500,000 Thunderball top prize from the draw on January 30, and will now be celebrating with the bottle of pink champagne they’ve held on to for almost 30 years.

Brian explained: “We used to take part in a French exchange and in the early 1990s we had a family to stay who brought us a very nice bottle of pink champagne to say thank you.

"When they gave it to us we said then and there that we’d keep it and drink when we won the lottery.

"I think they thought we were mad but I was sure that we’d be cracking it open one day to celebrate a big win!”

The couple’s win - which comes just weeks after fellow Weston resident Dan Fisher won £300,000 on a National Lottery Scratchcard - couldn’t have come at a better time, as Julie was made redundant from her hotel job last year.

Julie, who had worked in the same Weston hotel since she was 15, had been worrying about finding a new job, but this life-changing win means that she can begin her retirement early.

Brian, who was due to retire from his job as a mechanical fitter at a factory in Clevedon this summer, handed in his notice shortly after his win, so that the couple could begin to enjoy their hard-earned retirement together.

It is also the couple’s 45th wedding anniversary this year, and they hope to celebrate with a return to Weymouth, where they had their honeymoon.

The couple have been playing The National Lottery since it started and have used the same numbers since the beginning - a mixture of birthdays, anniversaries and house numbers.

The couple's winning ticket was bought from Hayers Mead Vale Store, Nightingale Court, in Weston-super-Mare.