Support worker to pursue paediatric nursing career following £400K win on Postcode Lottery

An NHS support worker has won more than £405,000 on the People’s Postcode Lottery six years after the death of her twin boys and now wants to give back in their memory.

Rachel Lee, 33, has vowed to help other ill children by becoming a paediatric nurse after suffering the loss of her baby boys.

Ms Lee (pictured) and husband John, 37, broke down in tears after she won the largest share of a £1 million jackpot on the Postcode Lottery.

She said: “This just doesn’t happen to us. We’re used to picking up the phone to bad news.”

Ms Lee won almost half of the lottery’s weekly Millionaire Street prize when her postcode in Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, was announced as the winner on Saturday.

The couple lost their twin sons – who they named Reggie and Ronnie – during childbirth in 2018 and Ms Lee’s life was also in danger after she contracted sepsis.

She said: “They sacrificed themselves for me. It’s heartbreaking that it happened, but in a way, I’m here to keep them alive.

“We got told that if I hadn’t given birth when I did, I would have had 24 hours to live and would have died as well.”

Ms Lee, who works as an NHS children’s complex needs support worker in Tameside and Glossop, said the winnings will allow her to pursue a job as a paediatric nurse.

She said: “I worked in a nursery for 13 years as an assistant manager and I’d had enough. I wanted to give back and do something with my career after everything I’ve been through.

“When I got the job with the NHS, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I want to be a paediatric nurse and I want to look after poorly children.

“I can now do a Master’s nursing degree and make it happen.”

Her husband, who works for a fire alarm company, said: “It has a lot to do with losing our twin boys and she’s always wanted to give something back. To work with kids like that and families like that.

“It’s taken a bit of time because it was still so close and tender. But just to see the change in Rachel since she’s worked there and been doing that. She’s a lot happier and now she can go and fulfil that properly.”

Ms Lee also plans to buy a Life for a Life tree for her beloved twins.

She said: “We want to get a tree for life planted at Dove Stone Reservoir (a memorial forest near Oldham). We’ve always wanted to do it but they’re expensive.”

To further add to their woes, Ms Lee’s stepfather Mike had both his legs amputated after medical complications which has left him needing 24-hour care, and she now plans on buying him a mobility car.

Ms Lee said: “It’s been an awful time. He can’t have prosthetic legs because of his age and his weight loss. He was 17 stone when he went into hospital and now he’s under 10 stone.”

The couple are also looking at buying a new house and taking a long-awaited honeymoon.

As Ms Lee won the maximum ticket prize and was the only player in the winning postcode, the remaining prize money totalling over £594,000 was shared between players in the postcode sector.

More than 1,280 players won cash sums ranging from £419 to £1,257, while Home-Start HOST has been awarded £75,000 by the Postcode Community Trust.

Sarah Cook, chief executive of Home Start-HOST, said: “The funding we have been awarded by the Postcode Community Trust has come at a critical time and will enable us to continue to provide the high level of support our volunteers deliver across the many services we offer to families.”

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