Monopoly jackpot for young player

IT WAS a case of pass Go and collect £1,000 for this Ipswich youngster who struck it lucky with the board game.Nine-year-old James Solomon, his mum Sarah Stafford, and her boyfriend Oliver Stewart couldn't believe their eyes when they found 20 real £50 notes in an envelope inside a Monopoly game, which had been given as a late Christmas present.

IT WAS a case of pass Go and collect £1,000 for this Ipswich youngster who struck it lucky with the board game.

Nine-year-old James Solomon, his mum Sarah Stafford, and her boyfriend Oliver Stewart couldn't believe their eyes when they found 20 real £50 notes in an envelope inside a Monopoly game, which had been given as a late Christmas present.

That's five times more than you get in play money for passing Go in the game!

Miss Stafford, of Talmash Gardens, near Gippeswyk Park, was given the present by her younger brother, Joseph Green, who is in the merchant navy, this week, but she claims it was definitely worth waiting for.

Although it is not quite enough to buy a hotel in London's Park Lane, the family is planning to spend it on a holiday later this year.

The envelope containing the £1,000 prize was one of only a couple in whole country.

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Miss Stafford, 32, an administrator at Ipswich Hospital, said: “We saw the offer on the outside of the box saying you could win £1,000 but we didn't take much notice of it. When we opened it, there was an envelope stuck to the box and it had real money inside.

“We thought it was a gimmick because obviously there is a lot of play money in the game, but when we looked properly, the notes seemed real. It was an unexpected surprise.”

When Miss Stafford went to cash the windfall in the bank, she had a bad feeling it would not be taken for some reason but when they accepted it, she texted her boyfriend straight away.

She added: “James asked me if he could take the money to school in his bag for a show and tell session because he said otherwise his friends wouldn't believe him but I wasn't keen on that.

“You never think it will be you. I feel really lucky to have won but I think that is our luck for the year now.”

A spokeswoman for Monopoly said: “We would like to pass on our congratulations to the winner.

“The offer was meant to bring some excitement to people at Christmas. Monopoly is all about property and trading money so this competition to give away real cash was a great fit.”

Monopoly launched another competition at the same time as this one, giving away pre-paid Visa credit cards.

Have you struck it lucky recently? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The longest Monopoly game ever played was 1,680 hours long-the equivalent of 70 days straight.

Parker Brothers, owner of Monopoly, rejected the game when it was first presented to them in 1933, citing 52 fundamental playing flaws.

More than five million little green houses have been made since the Monopoly game was introduced in 1935.

World records for the longest game are 286 hours in a treehouse, 100 hours underground, 99 hours in a bathtub and 36 hours upside-down.

There is already an Ipswich version of the game.

Parker Brothers has just launched a global vote to give people the chance to get their cities on the board for a new Here and Now edition. Residents in Ipswich can also vote to get their town included in the game as a wildcard option by visiting www.monopoly.com.