Pensioner Cyril Thornton is celebrating the long-awaited conclusion to the US presidential elections almost as much as the Governor of Texas himself.

Retired civil servant Cyril, 83, was today off to the betting shop to collect £15,000 in winnings after his man won the race to the White House.

In May he staked a £1,000 bet on George W Bush being voted in as the American leader.

Then, Bush was a real outsider with odds of 15-1.

But Cyril, who lives in Scarletts Close, Rocks Park, Uckfield, with his wife, Audrey, has had to endure an agonising wait to see if his bet was a winner.

Five weeks of recounts and legal battles ended in the early hours this morning when Al Gore gave up his battle to become president.

Cyril has friends in America who have kept him up to date with the election campaigns since he placed the bet.

He is yet to decide what to spend his £15,000 on.

Mr Thornton said: "Winning the money is a nice Christmas present but most of all I'm pleased because Bush is the best man for the job and so in a global sense we are all winners."