Gorleston woman enters 600 competitions a week

Sifting through a black satchel and green logbook full of entries, Norfolk mum Tina Cleveland seems more like an accountant or auditor.

But the mother-of-two from Gorleston, near Great Yarmouth, has chosen to pursue a more unconventional career, as a 'comper,' who enters competitions on a daily basis.

In fact, the 42-year-old housewife, who lives in Buxton Avenue, has been so successful since she started in 2002, her annual prize winning has risen from �195 that year to �5,000 this year alone. She enters 600 competitions a week.

Her dedication is reflected by the tidy records of competitions she has entered which she keeps in the green book and bag.

Her wins this year have included trips to Spain, Egypt, theme parks, a designer handbag and �500 in retail vouchers.

But the catalyst for her chosen vocation was her sister Nicola Jones, 40, winning a trip to Las Vegas in 2001 after entering a slogan competition.

Nicola, who is also from Gorleston and a mother-of-two, was unable to take the dream trip, so she was given �1,500 in prize money instead.

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Her sibling's success was enough to persuade former MTE employee Tina to give competitions a go and she had her first taste of success, winning an Umbro watch in 2002.

Having been bitten by the comping bug, the mother of Ryan, nine and Holly, two, would spend every morning for the next few years touring supermarkets in Yarmouth, Gorleston and Lowestoft with Nicola collecting competition flyers to fill in during the afternoon.

This daily routine has since been slowed by the need to care for Holly, who was born with the condition acid reflux, which causes severe heartburn and reflex anoxic seizures – a type of fit that happens when she is stressed.

She said: 'I finished work when Ryan was born. I would not go to work while he was not at school and I thought if I got into competitions it was something I could do from home, while he was in bed.'

Cambridge-born Tina, whose husband Ray, 50, is a mechanical engineer, now spends three hours every evening on competitions, though the nature of her 'comping' has now changed from supermarket slogan competitions to more online games, magazines and postcards.

She also enters competitions in her three favourite papers – the EDP, Yarmouth Mercury and East Anglian Daily Times.

One tip for finding competitions, she said, was to log on to the website Loquax, which provides links to competitions, although prizewinning opportunities could be found on many websites these days.

'I see it as my way of contributing to the family. It is my job and that is how I justify it to my husband,' she added.