4th April 2005




After three weeks of tireless campaigning, a student from the University of Lincoln has been selected as one of ten national winners of the 2005 Virgin Mobile Great Rent Escape competition.


Sam Paddon (20), a second-year Forensic Science student from Mansfield, beat off around 33,000 entrants to win the student-targeted competition which she entered whilst searching for free samples on the Internet.


She has won her rent paid for a year as well as that of up to three housemates in the annual Virgin competition.


Sam was given just three weeks to get as many votes as possible on the competition web site, resorting to wearing nothing but a cardboard box to scoop vital votes!


Competing against 24 other finalists in the last stage of the competition, she collected around 8,500 votes to secure her place amongst nine other winners.


Sam launched a ‘Vote for Me’ campaign at the university’s Brayford and Riseholme campuses and her mum also promoted her daughter’s campaign by advertising it in the Asda supermarket in her home town.


The competition has been running for four years and this year saw a record-breaking total of 129,000 votes being collected. Previous winners have gone as far as streaking and stripping to advertise their campaign to reach the final 10.


James Kydd, brand director at Virgin Mobile, said: “Finding money for rent is one of the biggest headaches when you’re a student so winning a rent-free house for a year is a much sought after prize.”


But winning just under £3,000 – Sam’s rent costs for her final year – has not influenced her to take a smaller student loan out next year. “It will be great for me and my housemates to have more money to socialise and it will really help to make my final year at university one to remember. I also hope to save some of the money to go travelling with after I graduate,” she said.


Details of the competition as well as that of other competition winners are available online at www.greatrentescape.com.


Matt Cross, Assistant Press Officer

(01522) 886625                       mcross@lincoln.ac.uk