A Saltdean woman studying in Polegate is to get her rent paid for one year, beating 82,000 people to win a competition by website SpareRoom.
Entrants to the LiveRentFree competition were asked what they would do with a year's rent, and Nicola Bodfish said she would start her own dog grooming business.
SpareRoom decided to surprise Nicola while she was studying at The Dog Hut Canine Studies college off Dittons Road in Polegate on Saturday (July 1).
The surprise procession included a 25 person samba band, four people in dressed as dogs and one giant cheque for £6,708, delivered by SpareRoom’s CEO and founder.
Nicola said: "I don't think it's even sunk in yet. It feels so surreal. I’d given up hope last month when I received the email saying SpareRoom had picked the next winner, I hadn’t been contacted so I thought it clearly wasn’t me.
"I’m learning to be a dog groomer so setting up my own business is really important to me. I’m looking at getting a mobile grooming van which is quite expensive. I’ve had all my quotes done already but I haven’t progressed with it because I don’t have the money. You don't know how much this will help me progress the business plans."
Rupert Hunt, CEO and founder of SpareRoom.co.uk, said: “It was great handing over the cheque to Nicola, especially after hearing about the grand plans she has with the money – hope she didn't think we were barking mad!
"I know first hand the benefits of having some time without paying rent. In 2004, I moved back to my parents’ home and had six months living rent free, this really helped me take SpareRoom to the next level. So I’m happy to give someone else this chance to pursue their dream!’’
The winner’s prize was worked out using the average rent for their postcode area in the first quarter of 2017.
To find out more about the LiveRentFree competition, visit: www.spareroom.co.uk/liverentfree