Three weeks after he lost his mother to cancer, Ryan Riley was left feeling grief-stricken. Intent on cheering him up, his friends persuaded him to join them out on a night out in Newcastle. At one point, the group stumbled into a casino, and in a dramatic twist of fate, Riley placed a £1 side bet and, unbelievably, won £28,000. “That’s when my life started properly,” Ryan tells me. “Beforehand, my friend Kimberley (who had also lost her mother to cancer) and I were living in a council flat, and we were falling behind on rent.” After hitting the jackpot, Riley was able to make the life-changing move from Sunderland to London.
In the closing moments, Mears delivered a coup de théâ which left his audience visibly shaken.