A FAMILY had a Christmas gathering to remember when they scratched off a £1m win on a National Lottery Scratchcard.

The seven family members of the The Merry Millions Syndicate all have life-changing plans for their share of the win, a win which came about on Christmas Eve thanks to a shortage of broccoli and spinach.

Braintree and Witham Times:

All smiles - Hayley Parker

Hayley Parker, 30 and her partner Matt Munn, 28, were hosting a family Christmas Eve supper at their home in Romford when Hayley realised she was missing a couple of key ingredients.

Popping quickly to the shops with another member of the family, the pair decided to buy everyone a scratchcard for a little pre-dinner treat.

Hayley said: “It was one of those spur of the moment decisions as we were paying for the veg. It’s amazing to think that meeting our five-a-day gave us each £142,857.14!”

The £1m win was discovered when they all sat down to celebrate Christmas Eve.

Among those joining Hayley and Matt for the feast were partners Ben Snookes, 27, his wife Holly, 28 and Hayley’s twin sister Kelly Parker, 30.

Hayley added:“I’m a midwife and because I was working on Christmas Day we’d decided to celebrate on Christmas Eve instead. Having everyone around the table was a real treat and we were all in high spirits.”

It was Hayley who revealed the £1m top prize on the scratchcard but, having been the butt of a Christmas prank the previous year, she didn’t believe it when she saw the three symbols matched and a prize of £1m.

She said: “Last Christmas my step-dad gave me a joke scratchcard which said I’d won £1m so I thought this lot had done the same thing, but I just couldn’t work out how they could have switched it to give me another joke one.

"So I showed it to them saying ‘very funny’ but they all responded with cheers that we’d won big, which of course I just thought was an even bigger wind up!"

With the win now confirmed, the family members have each happily banked £142,857.14 and are busy making plans for the future.

For Hayley and Matt, the win fast tracks their life plan, Hayley added: “The house we bought a few years ago is a total renovation project which is still a work in process.

"This win means we can crack on with the work that needs doing rather than having to save up for each bit of work, and then we can focus on the next stage of our life together.

"“It’s certainly made 2019 a Christmas to be remembered for us all, and for me personally, the icing on the cake was that I also delivered my first Christmas Day baby, a healthy little baby girl. I’m not sure how we top this for Christmas 2020!”

The other members of the family syndicate all have a range of plans including a new car and a move to Germany.

Holly and Ben also have plans to move, after their recent marriage and as they expect their first child.