Foodie Friday January 27, 2021 at 12:00 pm

UK couple who won $1.3M lottery help feed homeless with dish inspired by curry from St. Lucia

Francis Akhalbey | Content Manager

Francis Akhalbey January 27, 2021 at 12:00 pm

January 27, 2021 at 12:00 pm | Foodie Friday

Euromillions jackpot winners Bill Mullarkey and Cath provided free St. Lucia-inspired meals to homeless people affected by the lockdown -- Photo Credit: Birmingham Mail

A Coventry-based couple who won a £1 million (around $1.3M) Euromillions jackpot in 2017 made a charitable gesture to hundreds of homeless people affected by the current COVID-19 lockdown in England by offering them a dish that was inspired by a Caribbean curry from St. Lucia.

The couple, 60-year-old Bill Mullarkey and Cath, 59, paired with chef Jim Eaves – a volunteer for the humanitarian aid organization Langar Aid – to prepare the Caribbean-inspired dish, Mail Online reported. Cath happens to come from St. Lucia, so that explains the inspiration behind the meal. The couple, who are also chefs by profession, bought the ingredients for the dish in addition to snacks and drinks.

The couple told the news outlet they were inspired to lend a helping hand to the homeless after they saw volunteers hand out pizzas to lorry drivers who were stranded in the English county of Kent in December.

“I saw the Langar Aid guys on the TV dishing out meals to stranded lorry drivers on the M20 over Christmas. I was inspired and wanted to help them look after homeless people in Coventry,” Bill said. “Ordinarily Cath and I would have gone into the kitchens and cooked everything but working with Stuart was the best way of still making a difference while minimising contact.

“As Cath is from St Lucia we went for a Caribbean curry. A vegetable and coconut curry with a side order of rice and peas plus drinks,” he added. “We also handed over lots of chocolate bars as treats.”

Cath also explained how they went about preparing the vegetarian dish and also commended the work of the volunteers.

“Jim was brilliant. We chatted through meal ideas, the ingredients because everything is vegetarian, even the cutlery,” she said. “He and the other volunteers give up their spare time and stand out in all weathers; it’s so cold at the moment, a lot colder than St Lucia and I am in awe of the work they do.

“That’s why Bill and I wanted to also give something to the volunteers as well to say thank you.”

This, however, isn’t the first time the couple have provided free meals, Mail Online reported. In 2019, they curated and prepared a three-course Caribbean-inspired meal for 100 pensioners to mark the Christmas festivities.

The couple got to know about their surprising lottery-winning ticket after they received an email from the lottery company. Bill said he was initially reluctant to open the email as he thought it was spam and was on the verge of deleting it until his granddaughter convinced him to open it. He also said he initially saw the email while he was in his wife’s native St. Lucia but was unable to check its content until he returned to the UK after over two weeks.

They initially thought they had won £10,000 (around $13,000) or £100,000 (around $136,000) but received the shock of their lives when they were told it was actually £1 million ($1.3M).

“I got an e-mail when we were in St Lucia from the National Lottery and I just had a look on our return last Wednesday,” he recalled. “I spoke to a young lady on the phone and then waited for a few minutes, which felt like forever, and then she said we had won £1 million.

“At that moment there was such excitement in the house and lots of screaming. We celebrated with a nice cup of tea and I didn’t sleep all night, it just wouldn’t sink in.”

After winning the lottery, the couple had initially said they planned on purchasing their second home in St. Lucia and also helping a nephew who got paralyzed after an accident in the Caribbean nation.

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