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Kelly and Jason Evans celebrate their winnings.

Kelly and Jason Evans celebrate their winnings. (Courtesy of Paddy Power)

RAF Fairford firefighter Jason Evans was halfway out the door on the way to a New Year’s Eve get-together when the phone rang. Holding his 18-month-old daughter in his arms, he told his wife not to bother with it, but she went back and picked up the receiver.

On the other end was Evans’ bookmaker, delivering the news that he had just won more than 230,000 pounds on sports and horse racing bets.

The year 2006 all of a sudden had a whole new outlook, he said.

In all, Evans, a British civilian who works at the small American base, won a total of more than 234,805 pounds (about $422,650) on two “accumulator” bets, in which a series of bets have to hit in perfect sequence to produce a winner.

In the first, he picked nine horses from races in England and Ireland and placed a 23-pound bet, the 34-year-old said. If all nine horses won, he’d take home a bundle.

One by one, the horses came through, and the 23 pounds netted Evans 81,329.37 pounds.

Also on New Year’s Eve, the longtime horse racing fan and gambler had put 11 pounds on an accumulator including 11 horse races and two football matches. Again, all his picks came through, and he hauled in another 153,476.53 pounds.

Evans had turned 34 pounds in bets, the cost of a full tank of petrol, into more than a quarter-million-pound payday.

The odds of the two wins hitting at once are in the tens of millions to one, he said.

“That’s massive, isn’t it?” he said.

When he took the news to the family party, he initially sat everyone down and said he had an announcement to make.

“Everyone thought my wife was pregnant again,” he said. But when he delivered the news, “The place just erupted.”

“It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” said Blain Schumacher, assistant fire chief at RAF Fairford. Evans has had to suffer some ribbing and jokes about loans and free rounds of drinks, Schumacher said, but his co-workers haven’t razzed him too hard about his luck or the recent media attention.

Evans said the spotlight has been “hectic,” but for the most part it hasn’t overshadowed the ride that started on New Year’s Eve.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.

It also hasn’t distracted him from deciding how to spend his winnings.

“Obviously, I’m going to pay the mortgage off. I’m going to buy the wife a new car,” he said. Then, after a nice vacation, they’ll likely invest the remainder, he said.

Evans’ big win hasn’t dampened his passion for betting on the ponies, and he believes he could see another six-digit win.

“I can pick winners. … I’m pretty good at it,” he said. Previously, he won an 18,000-pound payday on horse racing, he said.

“I’ve got a feeling that I could do it again,” Evans said. “But obviously, you need a hell of a lot of luck.”


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