bid (5)A SUNDERLAND shopper is heading off to the sun, after scooping the main prize in a seasonal competition.

Claire Richardson, 21, was one of thousands of visitors to the city over the festive period that took part in the Advent Door promotion organised by Sunderland’s Business Improvement District.

And Christmas came early whenClaire was called by former EastEnders star Matt Lapinkas to inform her that she’s won the overall prize – £1500 worth of holiday vouchers.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Clare, from Chester Road, Sunderland.

“When I got the call I just thought it was someone winding me up. I love to travel so this is the best prize I could ever have won.”

Throughout December a full size door moved around the city each day, with shoppers invited to pick a key and try and open it to win a daily prize.

“I actually won a prize the day it was at Debenhams,” revealed Claire, who is in her final year at Sunderland University, studying primary education.

“I won four pairs of jeans and four Christmas jumpers and I thought that was amazing, so I couldn’t believe I’d won again.”

This week Claire received her vouchers and is now looking for a holiday with her boyfriend to the Far East.

“We’ve always wanted to go to Thailand or Singapore and these vouchers will definitely help get us there,” she said.

Ken Dunbar, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID said the competition had been a huge success.

“Not only did shoppers get a chance to win a great prize every day but many of the retailers who took part reported a boost in trade,” he said.

“It was an extremely popular promotion and I’m sure we will look to doing it again in 2015.”