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Dad (39) flies for first time after big lottery win

A 39-YEAR-OLD who had never been on a plane before has taken a bite out of the Big Apple thanks to his lucky brother.

Father-of-two Alan Neary had only ever left Ireland once before last week but flew to New York after his brother won on the National Lottery's Big Money Game.

The Waterford man found himself sipping champagne in Times Square and taking a cruise down the Hudson River.

"I was a little bit nervous at the start but once the plane took off it was alright. I was looking out the window for about four hours," he explained, noting that he decided not to opt for a stiff drink.

He got his first flight out of Ireland after his brother Graham, a DJ, won an all-expenses paid trip on the National Lottery's Big Money Game.

They were among 39 winners that also included model Sara Kavanagh's mother and grandmother, while the tour hosts were Big Money Game presenter Brian Ormond and his wife Pippa O'Connor.

Pippa told the Herald that it was "weird" being back in New York as a married couple. On the same trip last year she picked out her wedding dress but this time around it was all about Ugg boots.

"I got seven pairs of Uggs, although only two were for me," she confessed.

The winners from 18 different counties won the trip on the National Lottery's TV show. Christine Kelly, from Kilkenny, used the trip to meet her new baby cousin in Yonkers for the first time.

But with €2,500 spending money as part of the prize, she also found time to live the high life. "Shopping, that's all we did," she laughed.

kdoyle@herald.ie