A bright idea to give National Lottery ticket holders a second bite of the cherry has just celebrated two decades of bringing delight to winners.
The Lottery launched two decades ago in a blaze of publicity, but after the first draw, a Blackpool amusements arcade boss couldn’t help spotting there were a lot of disappointed punters clutching losing tickets.
And that gave Warwick Tunnicliffe the idea for the ‘Second Chance Lottery’.
Organised between The Gazette and Warwicks Amusements, the competition allows you to drop your lottery ticket into a raffle for a “second chance” at a prize of £100, and has proved to be very popular with hundreds of people playing every week.
And, in the last two decades, more than £100,000 has been paid out in prize money to second time lucky players.
Mr Tunnicliffe, 69, had the idea when the National Lottery began in 1994.
He said: “I came up with the name ‘second chance’ because all these people were stuck with losing lottery tickets.
“I offered it to The Gazette and we haven’t missed a week since.”
The lottery has now been drawn 1,040 times, which means that Warwicks Amusements has given away £104,000 in prize money since the draws started.
Mr Tunnicliffe added: “When I saw that figure I felt sick, but I like to think that we’ve had value for money, especially because of the goodwill we’ve spread and we get letters from people telling us what they’ve done with their prize money.”
Warwicks Amusements has been a Blackpool institution for more than 100 years.
Mr Tunnicliffe said: “I have a photograph of my grandfather, Arthur Warwick, in 1906 with a car and a caravan with Warwicks Amusements written on the side.
“He opened up the slot machines of the day in 1920 and since then our family have never not had slot machines in operation.”
The business is still as family oriented as ever, with Warwick’s two children John Warwick Jr, 40, and Donna-Louise Green, 38 running their own amusement centres.
Mr Tunnicliffe said: “Both of my children helped during the Easter and summer holidays, even at the end of school day, helping to run the machines and the bingo.”