West Midlands woman to star in national TV campaign

A West Midlands mother will be enjoying her five minutes of fame on TV this week when she will be seen by more than seven million viewers during Emmerdale on ITV1

Rowley Regis resident, Sarah Cox features as part of the new sponsorship of the show by the UK’s number one online bingo operator, tombola.co.uk. The new sponsorship starts this week on ITV1.

The sponsorship deal will run until the end of January 2011 and includes broadcast sponsorship on ITV1, ITV2 and ITV3, online sponsorship at itv.com/emmerdale, interactive sponsorship, mobile interactive bumpers and licensing.

It means Sarah, a learning support practitioner at an Oldbury Primary School, could be seen at on Emmerdale for the next 14 months, exposing her to audiences of more than million people across the UK.

But for Sarah, who has a ten year old son and is married to husband, Kevin, the appearance on TV is the culmination of an incredible period of her life which has seen her emerge, in her words, as ‘an entirely different person.’

Sarah, aged 38, remains the holder of tombola.co.uk’s biggest single win on their online bingo site. In July 2007, Sarah scooped just a few pounds short of £39,000 when her numbers came up on bingo 90.

She explains: “It was one of those moments in my life I will never, ever forget and when that final number came up that I was waiting for, I really had no idea how it would change my life. I’ll never forget seeing number 79 pop up on screen and then a big ‘winner’ sign across my screen.”

The win changed her life overnight. “I had lost my mother not long before that and was still terribly upset. We were also in dire straits financially and had no idea where to turn to next. It really could not have come at a better time.”

Sarah says the win allowed her, for the first time, to buy entirely new things for the newly rented house, including a new sofa and TV, and also to book a nice holiday for her family too.

But for Sarah, the most important thing for her was the renewed self-confidence the win gave her. Due to complications with arthritis and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), Sarah struggled to keep her weight down, but since the win, she says she has stopped feeling sorry for herself and decided to do something about it.

Six months ago, she had a gastric band fitted and has since lost three stone. Of her appearance on the Emmerdale bumpers, she said: “There was no way in the world I would have done anything like this 12 months ago, but now my attitude is ‘I can do it’ so when tombola.co.uk appealed for players to appear, I jumped at it. I genuinely have so much to thank them for.”

Dawn Clayton, marketing manager for tombola.co.uk, said: “Sarah’s story is so inspiring and we are thrilled to have played even just a small part in helping her to find a renewed confidence.

“We are so proud she had the confidence to apply and for a complete beginner, Sarah was a real star in front of the camera. Everyone had tremendous fun shooting the bumpers and we think this comes across in the final product.”

Every week, tombola.co.uk gives away £3m in cash prizes. Dawn Clayton added: “Sponsoring Emmerdale, one of ITV’s leading brands, is a significant opportunity for tombola.co.uk. The show’s reach, the affection in which it’s held, and its values of drama, fun and community make it the ideal partner for the tombola brand.”

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