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Grandfather finds missing $24m lottery ticket in old shirt after last-minute reminder

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 4 days ago Mark Molloy
© New York Lottery

A New Jersey man has finally claimed a $24million (£18m) lottery jackpot after finding the missing ticket in an old shirt.

Jimmie Smith had just two days left to pick up his life-changing prize money before the lottery’s one-year deadline passed.

The 68-year-old retired security guard explained how watching a news report about the much-publicised unclaimed jackpot reminded him to search for the ticket.

“I ended up with a stack; a pile of tickets, including the one they were talking about on the news,” explained the father-of-two.

The grandfather said he couldn’t believe his lottery win, adding: “I stood there for a minute thinking, ‘Do I see what I think I see?’

“I had to stick my head out the window and breathe in some fresh air. I was in serious doubt. I really had to convince myself this was real.”

Mr Smith said he took some time “to clear out some cobwebs” before going to the New York Lottery’s customer service centre to claim his prize money.

He has been playing the lottery for more than 50 years, but admits he always forgets to check his tickets.

“I always told myself, ‘I’ll check them when I have the time,’” he says.

So what will he spend the money on? He plans to have an “all-family discussion” about what to do with his winnings.

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