Winner of £400,000 bet at Benwell bookies is found

A MYSTERY gambler who was unknowingly sitting on a £400,000 windfall after a £2 bet on the horses has been found.

Thomas Galligan with daughter Amber
Thomas Galligan with daughter Amber

A MYSTERY gambler who was unknowingly sitting on a £400,000 windfall after a £2 bet on the horses has been found.

The Journal told on Saturday how a woman made the bet on last weekend’s totescoop6 at the Betfred shop in Adelaide Terrace, Benwell, Newcastle.

She picked the six winners of the nominated Scoop6 races but didn’t come forward to collect her £394,487 winnings.

After a nationwide appeal proved fruitless, it was eagle-eyed shop staff who spotted the woman when she returned to the shop on Saturday evening to place another bet. The mystery gambler turned out to be 22-year-old Amber Galligan, who placed the bet for her father Thomas.

The 53-year-old, from Benwell, Newcastle, plays the bet regularly but didn’t realise that his initial selection – Vocational in the 2.25 at Ayr – was a non-runner and that this meant his pick then switched to the favourite – 7/2 jolly Angels Will Fall – which eventually won the race.

The pair became the first Scoop6 winners in the history of the bet not to come forward and failed to register in time to play for the extra £251,966 in the bonus fund.

Amber said: “I was at the counter when the assistant told me they’d been looking for me and I knew he wasn’t joking as he was so deadly serious.

“When he first told me that the bet had won I thought it was the place part and might have been a few hundred pounds, not hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“I was very shocked and couldn’t believe what he was telling me, but my dad’s been a fantastic father to us and deserves a change of luck.

“We live in a small two-bedroomed council flat and my dad has awful arthritis and sleeps on the sofa. He’s going to buy a bigger house with the winnings and take us all on holiday. It will change all our lives for the better.”

Father-of-four Thomas, a former builder’s labourer, said: “Amber is my angel – she and all my kids and grandkids mean the world to me.

“I don’t bet during the week, but do the Scoop6 when I can afford it on a Saturday. I thought my first horse Vocational had got beaten and then I watched as the next five won – I knew there were 568 tickets going into the last race at Royal Ascot and only one on Dandy Boy, but I never realised I was the winner as I thought I was out in leg one.

“I’ve had years of pain and operations with arthritis in my legs and Amber and my son Michael pop down to the shop to place my Saturday bet.

“Our first priority with the win will be to buy a bigger place to live and I also want to take them all on the holiday of a lifetime.”

Betfred boss Fred Done added: “We’re all delighted that we’ve finally found Thomas after a nationwide search as the amount he’s landed really will change his life for the better.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer