A GROUP of North-East council workers are celebrating after scooping £20,000 on the lottery.

Members of Darlington Borough Council’s lifeline services team were thrilled to discover that their syndicate had won them the five-figure cash sum.

Nicola Mattison, 40, works as a response officer and buys the four-weekly lottery tickets for the team each month.

Mrs Mattison doesn’t usually check the ticket numbers until she is buying the following month’s ticket.

She said: “I gave the lady my ticket yesterday (Tuesday, January 21) and she told me that we’d won, but that she couldn’t see how much and that I would have to go to the post office.

“When I got there and they said £20,000, I couldn’t believe it, I was in shock.

“I ran back to the office and shouted that we’d won, but nobody would believe me”

Team leader, Julia Lamont, 52, added: “When Nicola came in, she was as white as a sheet.

“My first impression was that she was having a laugh, she’s always jokes that we’ve won. I couldn’t believe it.

“It was lovely, such a great atmosphere in the office and I’m just so pleased for everyone, it’s given us a real lift.”

The team of 16, including four new starters who had played the syndicate for the first time, will share the prize money equally.

Lifeline services support independent living and is on call 24 hours a day for people who have a lifeline fitted in their home.

Mrs Mattison added: “The cheque is in my name and my husband keeps joking that we should keep it, but we’re going to use our share to go on holiday.”

“We are definitely going to continue playing, but I think I’ll check the tickets weekly from now on.”