When Jon Matthews was told he was terminally ill and should not make plans for Christmas he began preparing for the end.
He wrote a will and paid for his funeral.
The 58-year-old former salesman had placed a £100 wager at odds of 50/1 that he would remain alive until June 1, 2008 - at which time he would become by his doctors' best estimates the patient to survive longest after being diagnosed with the terminal disease mesothelioma.
Yesterday, Mr Matthews's determination to beat the odds was rewarded. He wore a jacket, hat and broad smile as he picked up his £5,000 winnings from a betting shop near his home.
Mr Matthews, who lives in a village outside
'Last year I thought, "Well, I've survived Christmas and I don't feel too bad".
'I'm not really a betting man, just once a year or so, but I got hold of William Hill and placed a bet. They checked all the facts out and that's why they gave me odds of 50/1.
'The longest the doctors have ever heard of anyone surviving mesothelioma after diagnosis was 25 months. Today is 25 months and a week so I've beaten that record.'
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said: 'We had never been asked to accept a bet of this nature before, but as Jon approached us directly and was adamant that it would give him an additional incentive to battle his illness, we offered him the bet he wanted.
'Never, in 30 years in the business, have I been so pleased to pay a winning client £5,000.'