A former soldier from Pembrokeshire who suffered PTSD and credits the VC Gallery for his recovery is celebrating after winning the lottery.
Alan Pike, 57, said the People’s Postcode Lottery windfall is a ‘game-changer’ after a dark few years plunged him into a mental health crisis.
But punching the air with excitement after being presented with £200,000, he said: “You’ve no idea how much this means to me and my kids.
“This is a game-changer for me. I’m having to pinch myself.”
The dad-of-five shared the £1m jackpot with three neighbours in the tiny village of Llandeloy, in Pembrokeshire, Wales, after SA62 6LJ was revealed as the winner of Postcode Lottery’s weekly Millionaire Street prize on Saturday, October 7.
Every ticket was worth £200,000, but neighbour Sean Edwards, 51 – a plumber and tenant farmer - doubled his winnings with two briefs.
Ex-Royal Logistics Corps sergeant Alan lost his squaddie brother David to suicide, aged 40.
Another brother Jeff died aged 53 in April last year after being injured in a fall.
And Jeff’s twin sister Jean Pike took her own life weeks later.
The tragedies sparked PTSD for Alan, who had served all over the world in the Armed Forces for 24 years and eight years in the TA.
And the dad-of-five’s marriage crumbled after 20 years.
But the Postcode Lottery win brought a bit of sunshine back into his life.
Teary Alan said: “Everything that happened in my family recently had a massive detrimental effect on my mental health. I went through quite a hard time.
“My wife and I split up after 20 years and I was diagnosed with PTSD.
“I was a bumbling mess. The deaths in my family were a catalyst.”
Alan credits local charity the VC Gallery in nearby Haverfordwest with helping him through the crisis – as well as neighbours in the village.
The Gallery – founded by Army veteran Barry John MBE in 2013 – helps ex-Armed Forces personnel and the community combat loneliness and social isolation.
Alan said: “Barry and the staff were massively instrumental in getting me back on my feet.
“I didn’t recognise that I was going down with PTSD. I didn’t see the signs myself, but they did.
“Leaving friends in the Forces isn’t the hard part. Working in civvy street isn’t the hard part. The hard part is recognising when you’re not coping and asking for help. There’s no shame in it. It’s not a weakness.”
He added: “The neighbours here are fantastic. They check in with me, I check in with them. We care for each other.
“It’s not unusual for local farmers to leave a box of potatoes or veg on the doorsteps.”
Alan, whose semi overlooks rolling countryside and Cawdor Barracks where he spent the last years of his career, now plans to put some joy back into the family.
He said: “I’d like a nice holiday for me and the kids. Somewhere with a massive waterpark.
“My 12-year-old son broke his arm a couple of days ago, but he asked if he could get a PlayStation 5. Yes he can!
“My 19-year-old daughter will be sorted out for a car. She’s learning at the moment. She wants a Fiat 500.
“I’ll do some home improvements, too.”
He added: “I’ll also take some coffees and biscuits into the VC Gallery.”
Alan’s neighbours also scored huge wins. Plumber Sean Edwards, 51, bagged £400K with two winning tickets and Grandmother Maria Perkins, 55, celebrated scooping £200,000.
How it works
People’s Postcode Lottery costs £12 a month to play and there are guaranteed winners every day. People play with their chosen postcode and are automatically entered into all draws. A minimum of 33% from each ticket goes to charity.
Every Saturday, £1 million will be shared by one postcode as part of the lottery’s Millionaire Street prize.
Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised more than £1.1 billion for thousands of charities and local good causes.
This prize was promoted on behalf of Postcode Education Trust which supports organisations including Save the Children, UNICEF and War Child.