Lucky Helen prepares for dream holiday

LUCKY Evening Star reader Helen Gardiner is off on a dream trip of a lifetime - sunning herself on one of the loveliest islands in the Caribbean.

LUCKY Evening Star reader Helen Gardiner is off on a dream trip of a lifetime - sunning herself on one of the loveliest islands in the Caribbean.

For she is the winner of our fantastic �3,000 win-a-holiday competition - picked out of the hat from thousands of entries.

Now Miss Gardiner is preparing to fly to the fabulous island paradise of Antigua, a destination favoured by stars and world leaders, ready to be pampered at a posh hotel.

The trip, provided by Virgin Holidays and Elite Island Resorts, is for two and she has chosen to take one of her best and oldest friends with her.

“I was totally gobsmacked when I received the phone call to say I had won,” said Miss Gardiner, of Lower Street, Sproughton.

“I haven't been abroad for a couple of years and have never been to the Caribbean - usually I have a cheap and cheerful bed and breakfast somewhere!

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“It's fantastic to think I am going to Antigua - it hasn't really sunk in yet.

“It really is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. It's so far out of my price range that it's not something I could even have saved up for.”

Miss Gardiner works for Hanson Building Products in Ipswich and said several of her work colleagues had entered the competition and been hoping to win.

“I just thought it was worth a go because you never know - normally I don't have any luck whatsoever, and to be honest I had totally forgotten I had entered, so it was a complete shock,” she said.

She is taking as her companion her friend Kerry Button, of Ipswich, who she has known since they were at Claydon High School together more than 20 years ago.

“She took me to Sri Lanka on holiday once and this is my way of saying thank you. Her husband has given her permission! It should be a lot of fun,” said Miss Gardiner.

The pair will be flown by Virgin Atlantic and will be met off the plane and taken VIP-style to the luxurious St James's Club, a lush tropical playground sitting on a 100-acre estate, boasting breathtaking ocean views and two white sand beaches.

Which is your favourite holiday spot and why? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail


Antigua is surrounded by clear turquoise waters and has 365 powdery soft beaches - one for every day of the year.

In the heart of the Leeward Islands, it is roughly 17 degrees north of the equator.

It's one of the sunniest of the Caribbean islands, humidity is low, temperatures range from the mid-70s in winter to the mid-80s in the summer.

Its amazing coral reefs attract scuba divers and snorkellers from all over the world, and it is renowned for sailing.

There is plenty to see and do - including visiting the world-famous delights of English Harbour, Nelson's Dockyard and Shirley Heights - and its history and culture is among the most fascinating in the region.

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