A DAD told how he had a winning £1m lottery ticket in his back pocket for three days and nearly forgot all about it.

Malcolm Sills, of Stockton, thought it was loser before wife, Claire, double checked the numbers at a Sainsbury’s store before realising the bit of paper was worth £1m to be split with friends Martin and Claire Tait, also from Stockton.

The couples are in a 50p syndicate and had actually won £40 on a scratchcard while they were on a Cener Parcs break with their children.

Mr Sills wanted to spend the money on a few drinks or a meal but Mr Tait persuaded them to buy some buying Euromillion tickets.

The draw was held on Thursday, February 19 but the Sills didn’t double check the number on one of the tickets until the Friday, after Mr Tait had returned to Nigeria, where he works as a sub-sea engineer.

“The other three all say they would have probably thrown the ticket away,” said Mr Sills.

They phoned Mrs Tait who was able to pass on the good news to her husband.

The two women, both 36, met when they were 16 while working at Woolworths and their husbands are also old friends.

Mr Tait, 37, and Mr Sills, 38, who works in sales, are keen cricketers and have decided to attend the Ashes in Australia in the winter as part of a joint family holiday.

Both couples now look forward to paying off their mortgages and debts.