Stoke man who bought pool table with lottery winnings gets bronze medal

Image caption,

Mr Jones bites his bronze medal he won at the European Blackball Championships in Malta in November

A man who bought a pool table after winning £2.4m on the National Lottery has now won a bronze medal for England in a tournament in Malta.

Former tiler Neil Jones, 59, from Stoke-on-Trent, won the money with his partner just before Christmas in 2010.

He retired and bought a professional-grade pool table so he could practise.

He played at the European Blackball Championships earlier this month after being picked to captain the England B1 team in an over-50s Masters category.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of the tournament, he said: “There was an open trial for anyone who wants to trial for England, and I got in. That’s when it became real.

“It’s overwhelming and you just think, I wish my dad was here,” he added. He has now dedicated the bronze medal to his late father.

Mr Jones said that before the lottery win he had just £13 in his pocket and did not have enough money to get through Christmas.

But a celebration at a pool hall with friends led to Mr Jones measuring up his dining room so he could buy a decent pool table.

At the tournament, his team played other second-level over-50s sides from France, Spain, Belgium, Ireland and Gibraltar, before losing to Wales in the semi-final. Scotland won the gold medal in the final.

Mr Jones said: “It was the most amazing journey and I can’t believe that we won a medal. I am so proud.

“The [lottery] win allowed me to retire and practise, which I couldn’t have done while I was still working.”

Image caption,

The 59-year-old says he couldn’t have afforded a professional-grade pool table before the win


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