39 years of buying tickets ends in $1.1 million home win
EVERY year since 1987 Don and Thelma Bethel have bought tickets for the Endeavour Foundation's Christmas Lottery - and their time has finally come.
The retired Charters Towers couple have walked into their new $1.1 million home at Noosa Heads after winning the charity's latest draw.
The win came 39 years after the pair first entered.
"It was so long ago I can't remember why we started," Mrs Bethel said.
"I guess it's true that good things come to those who wait."
On the lucky day their ticket was drawn, they were away visiting friends and missed their initial winners' call.
"Our grandson saw the draw results then called us and that's how we found out," Mrs Bethel said.
Mrs Bethel worked in aged care for 29 years before her retirement, while Mr Bethel owned a tree lopping business.
The Charters Towers residents of 44 years already have local connections to Noosa Heads, with Mr Bethel's two sisters living just minutes away.
"This is really a huge lifestyle change for us," Mrs Bethel said.
"We live in an old miner's cottage in Charters Towers, which we've remodelled and continuously worked on 40 plus years.
"It's been a lot of hard work and then, suddenly, we're walking into this brand new, fully furnished home."
While they had never considered buying a holiday home, the pair were determined to make use of their windfall.
"After more than five years of not seeing one of Don's sister's, she and another sister now live within a couple of minute's drive of us, and my own sister is already popping up and down to visit from Gympie," Mrs Bethel said.
"It's been wonderful.
"We're so hoping to spend a lot of time down here with our children and five grandchildren."
Mrs Bethel said the Charters Towers community was thrilled on their behalf.
"Everybody we speak to at home says, 'Thank God to hear of someone actually winning,'" she said.
"I hope it'll encourage people to buy tickets, because it really is so important to support people with a disability."
Endeavour Foundation executive general manager of supporter enterprises Andrew Thomas thanked Mr and Mrs Bethel for their years of support.
"Winning our prize home will change your life, but just buying a ticket changes the lives of people with a disability every single day."