JOHN and Shelia Wilkes’ garden can now look forward to a makeover thanks to a £1,000 windfall from The Northern Echo.

The retirees from Darlington are the latest winners of the Echo’s Cash Giveaway token competition and say that patio and garden work that was put on hold during a period of ill health two years ago can now continue with gusto.

Mrs Wilkes said that when the phone rang to let her know that the pair had won the cash, she initially thought it was going to be a nuisance call.

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“When I realised what it was it was a big surprise because we have never won anything, not in 40 years,” she said.

“It will be nice because now when we buy things for the garden we can say ‘the Echo got us that!”

The couple, both 72, also plan on using their winnings to take their family out for a meal somewhere special.

Mr Wilkes, who has bought The Northern Echo since being a 13-year-old schoolboy in Durham, is a retired policeman, while Mrs Wilkes worked as an administrator at Darlington police station.