Deal or No Deal gran misses out on £250k

A single mother who struggled to bring up five children on just £12 a week narrowly missed out on a £250,000 prize when she appeared on a television game show - but says she does not mind as she has been able to treat herself to some luxuries for the first time with the £12,500 she won.

A single mother who struggled to bring up five children on just £12 a week narrowly missed out on a £250,000 prize when she appeared on a television game show - but says she does not mind as she has been able to treat herself to some luxuries for the first time with the £12,500 she won.

Sylvia Norton, a 72-year-old from Mile Cross who also has 20 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren, won the money in her brush with stardom on Channel 4's Deal or No Deal which was aired on Monday and has been able to buy a new television to watch future episodes with her winnings.

She said: “I have never had that much money in my life and I've never had that sort of excitement before or won anything big. I get a bit of money for heating from the social services, but nothing like this.”

Deal or No Deal is a game show presented by Noel Edmonds which starts with 22 identical sealed boxes containing a label that represents a different sum of money.

The contestant picks one box which will potentially contain their prize, and then the remaining cases are opened one by one revealing the money they contained, which is then out of play. The aim of the game is to try and pick boxes that contain the lowest amounts of money - known as blue numbers - increasingly the likelihood that their own box contains a large sum.

Meanwhile, they receive offers over the telephone from The Banker, which they can accept or reject.

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Although Mrs Norton, who plays bingo two or three times a week, had the chance to win £250,000 on the show, she says is delighted with her prize.

She said: “I had four blues left and then the quarter of a million on the other side. “One of my boys sent me a message saying I should go for it but we weren't allowed our phones on so I didn't get the message in time.

“I'm glad because if I had won the quarter million that was on my table I couldn't have faced it, it would have been too much. One of my daughters won that much on bingo and was as ill as anything because of it - there is all the worry that comes with it, like what to do with the money. But it was absolutely fantastic to win the money I did.”

She added: “I didn't know what I was going to do; I didn't really have a plan. I just thought I would go for it - I'll risk it for a biscuit. I was very nervous, I had to block out that I was on TV otherwise I don't think I would have been able to do it.”

Mrs Norton has used her prize money to refurbish her house in Burges Road, Mile Cross, and buy a new carpet and new furniture.

She said: “My living room looks lovely now. I've got two rooms left to do. It also meant I could get a new TV - I've never had one before as I've always played second hand rules all my life - I've had to really. I might even be able to have a nice holiday as well.

“It's the best show because it's helped a lot of people out. There are people on it who have a lot of things worse than me and it makes such a difference to people's lives.”

Two years ago, boredom prompted Mrs Norton, who has watched Deal or No Deal every day since it started, to apply and she hasn't looked back.

She said: “Just over a year ago my knee blew up and I was in hospital when I got a message from my daughter saying Deal or No Deal had rung me up. I came out the next day and called them back. I had to go down to London for an interview. There were 400 odd people there and we were there from 4 o'clock until late at night, but I'm so thrilled I passed the interview and got on.”

The keen darts player was divorced from her husband when the youngest of her children was just three months old, and managed to survive by knitting the children clothes to save money.

So the £100-a-night hotel she was put up in with the other Deal or No Deal contestants for the duration of her 23 night stint on the show was a drastic change to what she was used to.

Mrs Norton, who has always lived in Mile Cross, said: “When I walked in my eyes popped out my head. The food was lovely and there were all chandeliers in the bedrooms and everything, it was perfect. They make your face up too, I've never had that in my life - I hardly recognised myself.”

Speaking of the mysterious figure of the banker on the show, she said: “Nobody will ever meet him but people spoke to him on the phone so he's got to be real. Noel Edmonds was just gorgeous; I am in love with him, he was so down to earth. It was lovely, I enjoyed it a lot.”

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