Craggs Heads the Dream Cast of Amazing Big Winners

Winning big is the dream of anyone that places a bet or buys a lotto ticket.  Here takes a look at some of the people that have done just that (won big) without successfully finding the 14-million-to-one shot which is selecting all six winning lotto numbers.

The 50p Millionaire (2008)

Yorkshire man Fred Craggs became Britain’s first betting shop millionaire by winning a million pounds for a 50p stake from his local betting shop in February 2008.

Yorkshireman Fred Craggs aka the ’50p millionaire’

Craggs, who lived just outside Thirsk (North Yorkshire), was celebrating his 60th birthday on the day he discovered that he had landed the biggest ever betting shop accumulator, beating odds of 2,000,000/1. His eight horses ran at various courses, starting with one called Isn’t That Lucky and finishing with A Dream Come True!  Amazingly Craggs had no idea that they had all won until he visited another betting shop, near his home in Bedale the following day where he was told that the betting slip he presumed was worthless had actually made him a millionaire.  Betting guru Graham Sharpe later declared, “This is the most amazing bet ever placed since betting shops were made legal in 1961.”

Man on the Moon (1964)

Of course Graham Sharp, a veteran in the bookmaking industry and famous for offering prices on “Who shot JR Ewing?” (star of the TV show Dallas) three decades ago knows all about amazing bets as his former company (William Hill) accepted a £100 bet in 1964 about a man walking on the moon before the end of the decade.  This was the first ever big novelty bet as it was placed at odds of 100/1. However the story does not have a happy ending as the punter, David Threlfall who collected his winnings in July 1969, bought a sports car with some of his bet’s  proceeds and later died in an accident he had in the car!

In 1964, David Threlfall (pictured) bet £100 that a man would walk on the moon before 1970.

Slip of the Pen (2012)

Another big winner who was unaware of their windfall until visiting a betting office was Amber Galligan who had written-out and placed a £2 Scoop6 bet for her father, Thomas.  The 22-year-old Scottish woman had initially and incorrectly written out their bet on a Jackpot docket.  In re-writing the selection on to a new slip she accidentally entered horse 18 in the second leg.  As that was only a 16-runner race the Galligan’s money went on the unnamed favourite which duly won.

They had also selected a non-runner in another race which once again saw their £2 lucky-line go on an unnamed favourite which also prevailed. Meanwhile, the former building labourer had already discarded his ticket incorrectly believing he had gone out in the first leg.  Therein the significance of the 33/1 winning Dandy Boy was missed on the pair.  As was the fact that he was an erroneous slip of the pen’ selection in the final leg.  The result of this comedy of errors?  A £394,487 pay-day!

The Hole-in-One Gang (1991)

In the summer of 1991 Essex boys Paul Simmons (an on-course bookmaker’s clerk) and John Carter (a former betting shop manager) toured the British Isles looking for independent betting shops who would give them odds on a hole-in-one being scored at the British Open, the Benson & Hedges, the Volvo PGA, the U.S. Open and the European Open.

Their research had shown the probability of a hole-in-one at any of these events was no bigger than even money but they were still able to get odds of up to 100/1 on the occurrence and managed to place several doubles, trebles and accumulators (of it happening at all five events) placed at double-digit prices. There was a hole-in-one at all five tournaments and when Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez sunk the last of them at the European Open at Walton Heath, Surrey, Simmons and Carter’s winnings totalled more than £500,000 not including the 12 bookmakers that refused to pay them out, declared themselves bankrupt or did not renew their betting permit.

In 2020 the hole in one’s are even more spectacular 

Agnes Haddock’s Lucky Names (2007)

50-year-old laundry woman Agnes Haddock became a tabloid darling after winning £410,332 on a Scoop6 bet.  The big story from the newspapers viewpoint was her selection process.  It included choosing a horse called ‘Clouding Over’ because “it looked like it was going to rain when I entered the betting shop” and another winner called ‘Simon’ because she used to work with a Simon who “was a really nice lad!” With over £400,000 banked Agnes had the chance to win an additional £278,288 in bonus race a week later.  And that she did, confounding experts and betting professionals by backing horse No. 13 because her birthday is on the 13th.