Hunt for lemons leads pub manager to win £250,000 lottery

A pub relief manager was at the Railway Tavern in Bexley when his life suddenly changed forever. John Reid, 61, who popped out to pick up some lemons, landed £250,000 from a National Lottery scratchcard.

The man had run out of lemons behind the bar so he nipped to the shops and he also bought a scratchcard. Reid, who lives in Southall, west London, said he had been in the pub game for more than 20 years so he had heard many stories about life’s highs and lows. 

Among them were tales of people who had won a few quid on The National Lottery, he said while narrating his own story. “Maybe it was those stories, or just dreaming, but I always believed I was going to have a good win on it. Looks like I was right and now I’ll be the talk of the pub for a bit!”

Interestingly, the lucky winner owes his win to the bar’s lemon shortage.

Reid narrated that after lunchtime service he hopped on the bus to the local supermarket to buy some fresh lemons for the bar and a steak pie for his supper. “I also treated myself to a couple of National Lottery Triple Jackpot Scratchcards”, which he stuffed into the bottom of the bag containing the citrus fruit and the pie, he said.

He said he shudders when he remembers casually carrying £250,000 ticket in a carrier bag. “What if my meat pie had exploded?” 

Reid shared how he initially thought he had won only £250 and he was even happy over it.

He said he went into the flat above the pub for a sit-down, before the early doors lot came in about five and he played one of the scratchcards without getting anything. “Then, somewhat absentmindedly, I played the second one, hitting £250.” Reid said he was delighted and decided that his steak pie was a fitting celebration for the win.

Little later he put his glasses on to watch the news and took another look at the winning scratchcard. It was then that he realised there was a K next to £250.

Reid’s screams of joy forced barmaid Karen to check he was alright. He said he asked Karen to check if it looked right and to be doubly sure, he went to the convenience store next door to see it on the terminal.

He said that it started to feel real when the shopkeeper told him that he should call Camelot. Reid then made the call in the pub and sat in the bar with a few of the regulars while he waited for the confirmation call from Camelot.

It was a tense moment until it was confirmed and then the whole pub cheered like crazy. With his win confirmed John Reid could have called last orders on his 23-year career in the pub game but he has no such intention yet.

Reid said he hasn’t made any firm plans, but he’s going to carry on working. He said it was certainly a tricky time to be running pubs but he has been there for the good times and he’s going to carry on in these times too.

He said he would be bored without the banter. Moreover, the regulars would all have plenty of advice for him about what he should do with the money, he added.

The lucky man said that he would buy a new car and look at buying a property later at some time. But, for now, he said, he will just bank the money. John had bought his winning Triple Jackpot scratchcard from The National Lottery at Asda on Graham Road in Bexleyheath.