A COUPLE'S pre-wedding fortunes appear to have taken a turn for the better, thanks to the agility of groom-to-be Alan Tolley.

Alan was shopping with fiancee Claire Forster in Durham city centre yesterday, buying last minute items prior to their wedding in mid-June.

As they spent more than £200 at the city's Prince Bishops Shopping Centre they were eligible to enter a novelty Grab a Grand promotional contest.

Alan, a plater/welder at the Tursdale Workshops near Durham, stepped forward to enter a perspex booth.

He had 60 seconds to grab as much money possible, while the vouchers were blown around by two high-power fans.

Despite drawing blood in his frantic efforts to cling onto as much as possible, Alan was easily the most successful competitor of the day.

He emerged with £720 in cash, plus £35 in store vouchers and four free meal tickets to use at a takeaway restaurant in the centre.

Alan, from Coxhoe, near Durham, said he just tried to hang on to anything he could.

"It was a bit frantic and I just jumped on everything in front of me. I'm not bothered about a bit of blood, it was worth it."

Claire said it may be the turning point in preparations for their forthcoming wedding, in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean.

"It hasn't been going great until now.

"We seem to have had a lot of bad luck.

"Our hotel has had to close down due to a food poisoning outbreak, so we've been left trying to find different accommodation to keep all 22 people in our party together."

Centre manager Richard Toynbee said Alan was easily the most successful of the Grab a Grand competitors, nabbing almost half of the £1,626 won by the five contestants, on the hour from noon until 4pm yesterday.