FEATURE: Lottery Winner Of The Month (October 2014)

November 9th, 2014   ·   Add Your Comment Now...


Retired Fisherman Lands Catch Of A Lifetime

Some people work hard all their lives saving for retirement and never really accumulating enough to meet their needs. Then there are a few who spend the majority of their life in hard work only to be surprised by a ‘retirement’ nest egg courtesy of the lottery, sometimes after they have retired.

When news broke out that a man from Bell Island, Nova Scotia, won the October 1 drawing of the Canada 6/49 lottery, everyone was thrilled. But when her parents told Alicia Hirtle, a niece of the winner, that an uncle had won, she thought it was a joke – until she heard it from the local news.

77-year old Leon Hirtle had indeed landed the biggest catch of his life a couple of years into retirement; the $13.8 million jackpot from the Atlantic Lottery Corporation’s 6/49 game. Hirtle has always been a simple man, and he did not really know what he would do with all the money.

Humble Beginnings

How simple a man was Leon Hirtle? For starters, he had always been a fisherman, a lobster fisherman to be precise, till he retired about two years ago. He comes from a family of thirteen and his father is also a fisherman. In fact, he learned the trade in his father’s boat at the tender age of sixteen. It was only two years later when he bought his own boat.

During those times they hauled up about 150 lobster pots per day and sold what they caught for a few cents a pound. About 45 years ago he bought the house where he still lives in and fixed it up. Though he knows the sea like the palm of his hand, he doesn’t even possess a driver’s license.

He had been fishing from the time he was 16 till he retired at the ripe old age of 76 two years ago. During all that time he never married and continued to live with two of his brothers. From his neighbours, we learn that he is a person generous with his time and resources even in the hardest of times.

He must have also been a dreamer because he developed what he calls ‘a habit’ of buying lottery tickets now and then.

Leon Hirtle Hits The Big One

When he bought a ticket for the October 1st draw at the Bridgewater Pharmasave, he never imagined the blessings about to come his way. When he asked to have his ticket checked at Pharmasave, the clerk was stunned at the amount he had won; but a double-check proved that he was indeed the big winner.

The simple retired fisherman suddenly had more money than he knows what to do with. He told his also disbelieving family and then subsequently headed to the lottery offices to claim his prize.

At the Bridgewater Curling Club on 16th October, he finally received a large ceremonial check printed with the full amount of his win: $13,805,045. He was all smiles, but had no clear idea what he wanted to use the money for. All he was certain of is that he will help his family.

What Lies Ahead

As soon as word got out that a large windfall had come Leon Hirtle’s way there came a deluge of communications from people asking for a share. Which is why this winner wants all the hype and excitement to blow over before deciding what to do.

Leon Hirtle wants nothing to change; perhaps financial security is the only thing he will really enjoy. Still a simple man, he does not even want to buy a computer (he doesn’t know how to use one) or a car (he doesn’t have a driver’s license). He declares himself too old to know what to do with so much money. When pressed about what he wants to do next, the winner confided that he may be doing a bit of work around the yard and he may purchase a tractor to use on yard work.

According to the winner he plans to give away most of his winnings to relatives since he has no use for so much money; even joking that he’ll only have enough left over to buy an ice cream cone. The bottom line is: he is where he wants to be and doing what he wants – is there anything better?

His lottery playing is not about to change either; he says it has grown to be a habit with him that he bought two tickets as he claimed his prize. But if he has more money than what he knows what to do with now, what will he do if he wins again?

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