The tears of sorrow shed just over a month ago in La Trinidad district over the death of one of its most famous residents, Chiquito de la Calzada, turned into shrieks of joy last Friday, when people in this densely-populated working class district of Malaga city discovered that they had won millions of euros in the Christmas Lottery, which is known as 'El Gordo'.
The winning ticket was number 71198, drawn in the traditional National Lottery at the Royal Theatre in Madrid. Tickets sold by office number 59 in La Trinidad won 128 million euros; a figure to which a further 800,000 euros have to be added from 'décimos' sold by two other offices, one in Calle Santa Marta, in Cruz del Humilladero, and the other in Avenida de la Luz. Altogether, 128.8 million euros were won by people in Malaga, the biggest El Gordo prize in the city's history.
It is five years since a first prize in the Christmas Lottery was won in Malaga, and the winners had to wait until 11.55am before the two children from San Ildefonso school, Yossueff Salhi and Noelia Katiuska, sang out number 71198. That number had been bought by people all over Spain and it caused a 'tsunami' of joy in the area around Calle Mármoles in Malaga. The lottery ticket office called La Biznaga, which has been run for 25 years by Catalina Durán, known as Lina, sold 320 décimos (32 series) of the winning number to people from La Trinidad and other districts of the city, and history will show the typical images of bottles of champagne, hugs, emotion, kisses, tears of joy and plans for the future, as the news sank in that they had won.
A councillor won, too
Ticket number 71198 also brightened the lives and Christmases of workers in El Perchel and the Carretera de Cadiz districts of the city. In the former, the 02 Centro Wellness gymnasium had 25 décimos. Seventy were bought in the old Tabacalera building, and staff in the Mobility Department of Malaga city hall won 28 million euros. Luck also knocked at the door of the councillor for Mobility, Elvira Maeso, who had bought a décimo of the ticket which went on to win the first prize.
In these situations there is normally a hero, somebody who chose the ticket number. In the case of the Mobility Department his name is Manolo, although he prefers not to give his surname. He bought 71198 from the lottery office of his mother, Lina. It was just a gesture, he said, sharing a ticket number as a way of maintaining traditional Christmas customs, but on this occasion it filled his fellow workers with joy. Well, most of them; on this occasion three of them had decided not to take part in the lottery.
El Gordo also paid a visit to the Santa Marta district in Cruz del Humilladero, where the Fray Leopoldo ticket office sold a décimo - 400,000 euros - the same amount as the office number 40 in La Luz district.
As well as the first prize, four of the fifth prizes totalling 114,000 euros were also won in different places in Malaga province. The biggest win, 60,000 euros, was for number 18065 and was sold by the office called El Gato Negro, one of the longest-established in the city, whose clients bought ten décimos of that number.
In Marbella, ticket number 58808 resulted in a win of 6,000 euros for a décimo sold at Venta Los Pacos, on the famous Golden Mile, where there is a tobacconist.
“The number was selected by the machine. We don't normally sell many lottery tickets, but this time we sold that one,” say staff there. Also in Marbella, the tobacconist in Calle Tirso de Molina, in Nueva Andalucía, sold ticket number 00580, which won another of the fifth prizes, worth 6,000 euros. A décimo for the same number was also sold by a terminal at La Verónica shopping centre in Antequera, an office in Calle La Bola in Ronda, 'El Axarco de Oro' in Calle Calzada in Torrox and in the kiosk at Tribuna de los Pobres in Malaga city.
Three décimos were also sold for ticket number 22253, two of them in Malaga (in Calle San Bartolomé, in El Molinillo district, and at Esla, in La Virreina), and one in the shopping centre in Rincón de la Victoria.