One of Britain’s youngest ever National Lottery winners has died suddenly aged 23, less than seven years after he scooped a £390,000 prize at just 16 years old.
Callum Fitzpatrick, of Ballymartin, County Down, had been working at his parents’ grocery store and studying for his A-levels when he won the prize in October 2014 – learning of his jackpot while babysitting at his aunt’s home.
The ‘wonderful, intelligent young man’ still completed a degree in civil engineering at Ulster University despite his win, which came after he matched the winning numbers of 1, 22, 30, 40, 47 and the bonus ball 42.
Mr Fitzpatrick – who is survived by his father Colin, 45, mother Sheila, 46, and three younger sisters Tierna, Corragh and Meagh – had vowed to buy a new car with his money when he turned 17.
The sports fan, who played for local Gaelic team Ballymartin GAC, was a Manchester United supporter and had said following his win that also wanted to spend some of the cash on visiting their stadium Old Trafford.
He had worked in recent years at The Harbour Inn bar at Annalong, where bosses said he was a ‘long standing and valued member of our team, full of craic and who would do anything for anybody’, and would be ‘sorely missed’.
Following Mr Fitzpatrick’s death, his family have asked for donations to the Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self-harm (PIPS), based in Belfast – but his cause of death has not yet been revealed.
National Lottery winner Callum Fitzpatrick is pictured in October 2014 aged 16 with his parents Sheila and Colin during the cheque presentation ceremony today after he won £390,000
Civil engineering graduate Callum Fitzpatrick, of Ballymartin, County Down, has died suddenly
Mr Fitzpatrick’s funeral was held last Friday at St Colman’s Church, Massforth in Kilkeel – with mourners hearing that his death was ‘completely devastating’.
His sister Tierna Fitzpatrick wrote on Facebook: ‘My best friend/brother I could of ever asked for. You’ll never know how much we all loved you.’
And friend Matthew McAstocker, said: ‘Still can’t believe I’m writing this mate. If only you knew how many people loved you. I’ll never forget the memories we shared.’
Aaron Smith added: ‘I still can’t believe Callum is gone from our lives. Callum was a good friend, pleasure to work alongside in the Harbour Inn. Callum would be missed by all, rest easy mate.’
Michaela Rodgers wrote: ‘We said goodbye to a such a lovely friend, you have left so many memories that we will cherish forever. You will never be forgotten, you will be remembered by how such an amazing person you were.’
Mr Fitzpatrick had been working at his parent’s grocery store when he won the prize in 2014
Bosses at The Harbour Inn, his workplace in Annalong, said in a Facebook post: ‘Trevor, Jodie, Denis and Grace offer their sincere condolences to the entire Fitzpatrick family on the devastating loss of their son, Callum.
‘A long standing and valued member of our team, full of craic and who would do anything for anybody, Callum will be sorely missed by all of us at The Harbour Inn.’
A Ballymartin GAC spokesman said: ‘The entire community of Ballymartin and surrounding area of Mourne is heartbroken.
‘We offer our sincere condolences to his father Colin, mother Sheila, sisters Tierna, Corragh and Meagh and wider family circle, a lot of whom are deeply rooted in our club at all levels.
‘As a mark of respect there will be no onfield activity at the club grounds until further notice. Callum will be sorely missed by everyone involved with Ballymartin GAC.
‘A wonderful, intelligent young man, a great friend and teammate, tragically has left this life too soon. May he rest in peace.’
In 2014, Mr Fitzpatrick had been babysitting at his aunt’s house in Bryansford when he realised he had the winning lottery numbers.
He was studying for his A-levels at St Malachy’s High School in Castlewellan at the time, and insisted he would still attend university despite the win.
Speaking after his win in 2014, he told the Daily Mirror: ‘I was shocked and I feel very lucky. I’ve not really been able to sleep since. I think I want to buy a car in January when I turn 17. I just want a normal car.’
Mr Fitzpatrick had worked in recent years at The Harbour Inn bar at Annalong (file picture)
The Manchester Unite fan played for local Gaelic team Ballymartin GAC, who paid tribute
He added that his family insisted he should still work in their shop, saying: ‘My mum has said I have to keep going and helping out, but that’s OK – I want to stay normal.’
He added: ‘I really couldn’t believe it as the first five numbers that were drawn out were all mine. When I finally realised it was true, I burst into tears.’
Mr Fitzpatrick then phoned his father Colin, who told the Mirror at the time: ‘I realised from the sound of his voice and how he was talking it was actually true.’
He wasn’t the first teenager in Northern Ireland to win a big lottery prize, with Tracey Makin from Belfast having just turned 16 when she won more than £1million in 1998.
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