Gloucestershire News

Amo Riselli - the Gloucester taxi driver who has just won £24.5million on the National Lottery

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Written by: Melissa Jones | Posted 05 January 2018 10:21

Amo Riselli - the Gloucester taxi driver who has just won £24.5million on the National Lottery

Every New Year's Eve for more than a decade, taxi driver Amo Riselli would be circling the streets of Gloucester, missing out as revellers partied the night away.

But 2017 was very different- the cab door remained shut, the seatbelts in their holders and the keys were missing from the engine.

The dad-of-five stayed at home with millions of reasons to celebrate as the UK's newest richest man.

This time he was popping the Champagne corks as he had just scooped a whopping £24.5 million on the lottery.

The man from humble Italian beginnings is now richer than broadcaster David Attenborough, pop star Cheryl, formerly Cheryl Cole, sand TV chef Nigella Lawson.

"It's amazing. I can't get over it, I'm overwhelmed," he said.

"It still hasn't sunk in. I may now be a multi-millionaire but I am still the same normal person I always was, just with a bit more loose change in my pocket!

"I normally work on the taxi rank on New Year's Eve and for the first time I was able to stay home with my family.

"I couldn't even walk straight after that!"

The dad to Tammy Locke, 30, Luica Locke, 28, Nicole Locke, 25, Leticia Sciberras, 25 and Bethany Sciberras, 21 and grandfather of nine kept his lucky Lotto ticket in his taxi glove box for two days without realising he had won.

After the December 27 draw, he went to G & A Stores in the city to check his numbers.

He stared in amazement as the terminal made a strange sound and he was told he needed to contact Camelot.

He had matched five main numbers 18, 36, 48, 57, 58, 59 and a bonus ball of 50- all picked at random.

At pace, he ran to his sister Lisa's hair salon nearby and told her he was £240,000 richer.

Yet he was mistaken and it was a staggering 100 times more than that amount.

Read more: Eight things you could buy in Gloucestershire if you won £24million

"I try to get my tickets checked in the same shop and I have always said: 'One day this machine is going to start smoking red hot because I will have hit the big one!" he said.

"I can't believe that it's actually happened to me for real."

Amo's 80-year-old mum Maria Riselli stored the lucky ticket in a glass jar over the Christmas period and now it has been cashed in, the family man has big plans.

First on the list is trading in his £180,000 semi-detached house for a posh Cotswolds one with a swimming pool, followed by a Ferrari to herald his Italian roots and a trip to Las Vegas.

He has hung up his car keys for good but will treat his colleagues at the Grosvenor taxi rank, where he worked up to 14 hours at a time.

Even though he bought three lines for the Lotto draws on Wednesdays and Saturdays he never thought his luck would change.

The festive period was always a sad time for Mr Riselli, as his partner Donna Sciberras passed away four years ago on December 16.

"I really thought the lottery was fixed," he said.

"I thought they can't win that much. It can't be fixed anymore!

He added: "I've gone through happiness and sadness. Donna passed away close to Christmas and it was always upsetting.

"I'm sure she's looking down on us."

At first Amo wanted to keep the win quiet, but due to the nature of his job and being a well-known figure of the community, news soon spread and he decided to go public.

The family have enjoyed many dinners together since their lives changed forever and his sister Lisa said: "We are just a normal, hard-working family.

"We will still be like that but I'm glad for my brother, he has worked hard. Taxi drivers work long hours.

"Two days he had that ticket in his car! If only he knew then.

"One good thing this year was he has never been there on New Year's Eve, ten past 12 he would pop in then have to go.

"He has always been the odd one out. It was lovely for my mum to see all of the family this time.

"He didn't come to my wedding on a Saturday, just showed his face. He said I can renew my vows now!"

Mr Riselli's good fortune follows the £100,000 Scratchcard win of Quedegeley factory worker Rebecca Wykes, who cashed in before Christmas plus another of other Lottery winners over the years.

Andy Carter, senior winner advisor for Camelot from Dursley, said Gloucestershire is enjoying a purple patch.

"I'm always pleased to see the money come home," he said.

"What strikes me about Amo is his family, they have defined the way he is dealing with it.

"They are all doing it together.

"He's just a really nice down-to-earth guy. He's like everyone's uncle."

 

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