Teacher Lydia Barber has gone right to the top of the class after shattering odds of 5,000,000/1 to win £250,000 at Betfred.

The 65-year-old Londoner hit the jackpot, from just a 5p unit stake, on Betfred’s Nifty 50 numbers game.

But if it hadn’t been for Betfred manager Gillian Caines, Lydia could have missed out entirely on her big win.

Gillian, who runs the shop in Croydon, ended up chasing Lydia down the street, urging her to come back inside to check her numbers as she was convinced she’d won.

It was only the second time the mother-of-one had been in the Betfred shop, when she opted to bet on the Nifty 50 together with her friend.

However, Lydia went for different numbers – namely 1, 2, 11, 12, 14, 25, 33 and 50 – than her pal Julian.

A week later, on Saturday morning, she returned to Betfred, unaware that she’d already won.

She explained: “I was halfway down the street and Gillian was tapping me on the shoulder telling me I should come back in because I was the big winner.

“I owe Gillian (pictured with Lydia below) so much. She’s a real hero. I thought she was pranking me at first, but she smiled which made me think she wasn’t making it up so I went back into the shop with her.

“She explained I had to find my ticket from last week, which I did in my handbag – and then it was checked and I found out I’d won a quarter of a million pounds.

“It really is difficult to believe, especially as it’s only my second time in the shop – and me and my husband Charles hardly ever gamble.”

Charles added: “We just cannot thank Betfred enough… it’s brilliant.”

Lydia went on: “We invested in a little house in Tuscany and will be using some of the money to pay for renovations.

“We also love Scotland and have been spending a lot of time there as we just love the scenery and the people are so friendly, so we may even think about getting a place up there too.”

For manager Gillian, a 51-year-old mother-of-six, her race down High Street took her back to her school days when she was something of a 200m champ!

“I had it in the back of my mind that the customer we were all looking out for had blonde hair,” she said. “When she came to the counter to place a similar bet on Saturday morning, it crossed my mind that it was her.

“I checked with my colleagues and by the time we’d convinced ourselves it was her, she’d left, so I chased after her for about 200 yards. I told her she ought to come back to the shop, because she might have won a lot of money.

“When we checked her ticket we were all so happy for her. She must have thought I was some kind of mad woman, chasing after her!”

Betfred boss Fred Done said he was “chuffed to bits” that six of Lydia’s eight numbers were drawn to land the Nifty 50 jackpot.

He added:

“This is a tremendous win for Lydia – and I’m confident she and her husband Charles will spend their windfall wisely.

“As for Gillian, she’s a true Betfred hero. She’s done exactly what we would expect from one of our great and loyal employees, so I want to say a big thank you to this wonderful shop manager who clearly hasn’t lost her athletic ability!”

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