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pounds 10M KISS; Lot to joy as couple pick up their record winnings.

Byline: By AINE HEGARTY

ECSTATIC Lotto winner Paul Cunningham plants a pounds 10million kiss on his wife's lips before the couple claim their record prize yesterday.

Crowds who gathered to catch sight of Ireland's newest multi-millionaires, cheered as bar manager Paul and Helen puckered up for photographers on the red carpet rolled out for them by the National Lottery.

And Helen, who realised her life would change for ever on Saturday night, had just two simple words for the waiting media: "Happy, happy."

The lucky couple and their family, from Fairhill in Cork, finally arrived at Lotto headquarters in Dublin yesterday - four days after scooping 116million, the biggest jackpot in the history of the Irish lottery.

They did not take a single question from the press, but through their solicitor said: "We don't want it to change our lives."

The couple looked overwhelmed by the large crowd waiting for them.

The rest of the Cunningham clan, Paul Jnr, 27, Stephen, 25, Shane, 23, Amy, 20 and Sarah 23, then followed tentatively off the bus. Paul's sisters Mary Regan, Kathleen Philpott and his brothers Frank and John Cunningham also travelled to Dublin to collect the staggering cheque.

The National Lottery turned on the style for the new millionaires - making sure their feet never touched the ground on Middle Abbey Street.

Stay-at-home mum Helen was presented with a huge bunch of flowers by Lotto boss Dermot Griffin.

Shortly afterwards Paul grabbed his wife and planted a long kiss on her lips as the crowds cheered on.

When asked how she felt to be clutching that pink Lotto slip, Helen beamed before the crowd.

The family was quickly ushered into the Lotto building where staff had champagne waiting on ice.

Champagne corks popped behind closed doors as the Cunninghams handed over the all-important ticket and officially became millionaires.

But the family remained tight-lipped yesterday about what items they'll be splashing the cash on.

Their solicitor David McCoy told reporters that hitting the jackpot was "a dream come true."

ulster@mirror.co.uk

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FAMILY'S FORTUNE: Cunninghams celebrate in Dublin yesterday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 2, 2007
Words:348
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