Pub cleaner dubbed 'luckiest woman in Britain' after competition luck

Winner, winner Christmas dinner! Pub cleaner dubbed Britain’s ‘luckiest woman’ after winning £70,000-worth of prizes will celebrate the festive season for FREE after landing gifts, food and vouchers as prizes

  • Jolene Stanley, 34, has won £70,000-worth of prizes since her first entry in 2012
  • Pub cleaner from Wivenhoe, Essex, won enough to celebrate Christmas for free
  • Her prizes include a five-star Portuguese resort break, jewellery and hampers
  • She hopes to win a few more competitions throughout the course of this month 

A pub cleaner has been described as Britain’s ‘luckiest woman’ after winning £70,000 of prizes from competitions this year at a rate of 20 prizes a month.

Jolene Stanley, 34, from Wivenhoe, Essex, is a dedicated comper – a term given to someone who regularly enters giveaway competitions.

Some of her prizes include five-star resort breaks and a top of the range cooker, which has led to her friends claiming she has won Christmas.

Thanks to her impressive prize haul, Jolene is now able to throw an incredible Christmas for her family without spending a penny, instead using gifts, decorations, cash and vouchers amassed from her multitude of winnings.

Jolene Stanley, 34, (right) a pub cleaner from Wivenhoe, Essex, has been dubbed Britain’s luckiest woman by her friends after winning £70,000-worth of prizes from competitions since 2012. Pictured: Jolene with her family in 2019

Among the prizes Jolene has won over the last eight years are meals out (pictured), toys, jewellery and children’s books

One of Jolene’s biggest wins was a five-star Portguguese resort holiday (pictured)

Jolene has a son Stanley, seven, from a previous relationship, as well as three children – Ivy, three, Charlie, two and Emily, who was born on November 22 – with her partner James Houghton, 28, who works as a carer.

She said: ‘Because of the coronavirus, lots of businesses are struggling and so have less to give away, meaning there are fewer competitions.

‘But I’ve still managed to get Christmas for free. I put things aside as I go along throughout the year, so that when December hits, I already have everything I need and don’t need to rush out to the shops in a mad panic.’

Jolene entered her first competition in 2012, after her son Stanley was born, but she never expected to win.

This year, Jolene doesn’t have to spend a penny celebrating Christmas, having won a meat hamper (pictured) from one competition

Most of the competitions Jolene enters are on Instagram and require her to like and share posts to earnt he chance of winning

The first prize Jolene won was a pram set (pictured) and the win triggered her passion for entering competitions

However, after a coupe of weeks she discovered she had won a pram set which triggered a lucky streak that shows no sign of slowing. 

JOLENE’S TOP FIVE PRIZES:

  • A four-night stay at a five-star resort in Portugal
  • A £1,100 range cooker 
  • A holiday to Bella Italia campsite by Lake Garda
  • £2,000 worth of holiday vouchers 
  • A Mother’s Day package consisting of a meal cooked by a private chef, a £100 food voucher, kitchenware and a photoshoot 

Among her greatest wins are tickets to see the Spice Girls, a four-night stay at a five-star Portuguese resort, a seven-source dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant and a £1,100 cooker.

She has also bagged around £3,000 in holiday vouchers over the years, some of which she used on a break to Italy, while she is also looking forward to a free trip to Florida, which was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jolene said: ‘In the first year of entering competitions, I won £20,000 worth of prizes. That’s my best year to date. In 2019 alone, I won £16,000 worth.

‘I actually make more from comping than I do from my actual job. I work part-time, so usually earn between £65 and £85 a week from my day job

‘My friends and family say I’m jammy, and joke that I must be the luckiest person in the country.’

After winning everything she needed to make Christmas 2019 magical, Jolene, who dedicates three evenings a week to scouring the internet for competitions, vowed in January to do the same again this year.

‘I spent virtually nothing on Christmas last year,’ she said. ‘My total spend was £65, including £10 on the kids. Everything else was taken care of by prizes.

A £1,100 cooker (pictured) is another of the top prizes Jolene has won across the years

A seven-course Michelin starred meal (pictured) was yet another prize that Jolene won for herself

Within the first year of having entered prizes, Jolene estimated she had won around £20,000-worth of prizes

Jolene won everything she needed to make Christmas 2019 magical and in January this year, she vowed to do the same

The prizes Jolene has won vary in size and price, from chocolates to beauty products

Jolene has plenty of children’s toys stored away after having won bundles in competitions

‘I was determined to do the same this year.’

Currently in her attic, Jolene has around £1,000 of prizes, which includes a £200 book bundle, a £100 jewellery set, a mini drone, a playmat for her daughter Emily, an electric scooter and a score of toys for her children. 

She has also won countless beauty products, alcohol and chocolate, which she will make into bundles for her loved ones.

‘I’ve won lots of vouchers and cash too,’ she explained. ‘Unlike other years, when I’ve won big amounts, I’ve had lots of little wins throughout the year – £10 here, £20 there.

Jolene said that she earns more from entering competitions than she does from her job as a pub cleaner

She has won £3,000 in holiday vouchers over the years and is looking forward to taking her family to Florida, though the trip has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic

Jolene enters a range of competitions and has even won a set of gym and exercise equipment (pictured)

‘It’s all added up, though, to about £400.

‘Some are for Amazon and Argos, which will be great for extra presents, and some One4All and Love2Shop vouchers, which can be used at lots of different high street stores.’

Last month, Jolene won a £50 meat hamper and a £60 set of lamb, beef and pork roasting joints, which she has stored in the freezer ready for Christmas dinner.

She said: ‘I am going to use some of the cash and vouchers I’ve won to take care of the other parts of dinner.

Jolene’s partner James Houghton (left) with her children Stanley, Ivy and Charlie on a day out at Gullivers Travels theme park that she won entry to in a competition. She also has another daughter named Emily who was born on November 22

Jolene has a large stock of children’s books at her home which she won in competitions online

Some of the Christmas decorations Jolene is putting up this festive season were also won in online competitions

‘I can only see myself having to use around £50 of my own money, if that.’

Even the decorations Jolene has up in her house were free, as she won a large wooden advent calendar, an LED star and a festive snow globe. 

However, Jolene isn’t finished with competitions in 2020 just yet and hopes to nab some last-minute prizes throughout December by entering advent-calendar style competitions where comapnies give away different prizes every day. 

She said: ‘Around this time of year, you’ll see a lot of what we in the community call seasonal compers – those who appear from nowhere to win a load of stuff for Christmas, then disappear again until next year.

One of Jolene’s favourite prizes she won was a set of tickets to see the Spice Girls. Pictured: Jolene and her sisters attending the concert

Jolene’s attic is filled with around £1,000-worth of goodies she has won in competitions

Lucky boy! Jolene’s son Stanley poses with a scooter she won in another competition

‘I thought with everything going on this year, I might see an influx of new people getting into comping, as so many of us are thinking about money.

‘But that hasn’t really been the case. I think people lose interest when they don’t have immediate success. They don’t realise that comping takes time and patience.

‘I try to be fair and only enter competitions where I could use the prize, or give it to a loved one or charity. I make monthly donations at food banks, too, and give them anything edible I’ve won.’

Jolene, who wins most of her prizes on Instagram by liking and sharing posts, one of the main benefits of having Christmas wrapped up so early is that it gives her more quality time with her family.

Jolene said she tries to be fair when entering competitions and only enters those she knows she would either use the prizes herself or give them to someone that she knows who would

Jolene gives food to food banks monthly and donates anything edible that she wins in competitions

One of the perks of having Christmas wrapped up so early this year is that Jolene can spend more quality time with her family

She said: ‘My friends and family don’t mind at all that I give them things I’ve won. They just like getting lovely gifts.

‘Having virtually everything sorted means I don’t have to do the mad dash around the shops getting presents.

‘Having just had Emily, I want to be at home this year more than ever, and not expose myself to the coronavirus.

‘I’m really pleased I’ve managed to win Christmas again – let’s hope I can do the same next year.’

Jolene’s top tips 

  • Find friends within the community who can alert you to prizes, and tag you in relevant giveaways
  • Leave a personalised comment under every giveaway post
  • Make sure you read the rules fully
  • Find a way to make it enjoyable, rather than feel like a chore
  • Search hashtags to find local competitions (e.g. #essexgiveaway #londongiveaway) as they tend to not get as many entrants and the prize will be on your doorstep
  • Enter as much as possible – you’ve got to be in it to win it!

 

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