Gary Beck has always enjoyed life on an ocean wave
But for the former Royal Navy electrician, the New Year has got even better after he won £150,000 from a £1 Irish Lotto bet with Betfred.
Father of two Gary, 61, from Welwyn Garden City, now plans to upgrade his Jag – and is to book a luxury holiday to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
Gary switched from using his favourite five numbers – 2, 11, 12, 36 and 42 – on the National Lottery to the Irish Lotto after a chat with an old Navy pal from HMS Alacrity during a poignant Remembrance Day pilgrimage to the Falklands in November.
His former-shipmate, Ian Bizby, told him he’d won enough on the Irish Lottery to pay for a holiday in the past and persuaded the 61-year-old to follow suit.
Gary and Ian were staying at Liberty Lodge on the Falklands during their trip with six other vets, partly funded by the Falklands Veterans Foundation and South Atlantic Medal Association.
Gary, like his chums, was awarded a campaign medal having been aboard Alacrity – a Type 21 frigate – that survived four Exocet-missile attacks.
He and everyone on board rescued men from the freezing South Atlantic waters after the SS Atlantic Conveyor was sunk by the Argentine Navy planes.
Gary, who served in the Royal Navy for 13 years having signed up aged 17, said: “I was in Gibraltar for New Year, getting a bit of sunshine with my wife, and thought I would check my phone to see how I’d got on in the Irish Lottery.
“You could say I went absolutely mental. I just cheered and jumped up, punching the air. My wife didn’t believe me but she did eventually after I showed her what had come up on the screen.
“I’d been using those numbers for ages on the National Lottery. We used to live at a number two, and then the twelve is because my birthday is in December. The other three numbers were just randomly chosen.
“After that chat with Ian, who was my boss in the Navy, I switched to Betfred and the Irish Lottery six weeks ago and then this happened.
“It’s absolutely fantastic… I can hardly believe it. It’s just a nice amount to win that’s not enough for me to retire but enough to make our life very much better.
“I’m going to upgrade my current Jag for a new F-PACE and then a dream holiday… probably to Mauritius. Then there will be a few quid for my son and daughter.”
Betfred boss Fred Done said: “Rarely has there been a more deserving winner. What a brilliant start to the New Year for Gary – just shows how you can win big with us from a tiny stake!”