An avid Echo reader is thrilled after winning a smartphone and tablet in our exciting competition.

With the coronavirus pandemic restrictions resulting in all of us spending time away from some our nearest and dearest, we launched our Keeping You Connected contest to help keep people together virtually.

We asked you to send in 12 different Echo front page mastheads and answer a qualifying question to be in the running for the top prize.

Mary Walpole was chosen as the lucky winner, fighting off competition from countless other readers who were vying for the Samsung mobile phone and Kindle Fire HD tablet.

She was overjoyed to emerge triumphant in our competition, although it came as a huge surprise.

Mary, of Roding Close, Great Wakering, said: “I was absolutely thrilled to win.

“When I got the call and was told ‘it’s the Echo’, I thought they were going to ask whether I was happy with the delivery service.

“Instead, I was told that I was the winner and it was a great shock.

“My husband hasn’t got a smartphone, so I am going to try and coax him into using the Samsung mobile.”

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Mary, a mother of three, has nine grandkids.

She will be relying on the grandkids to help her set up the new devices when government restrictions are lifted.

Mary, 69, added: “My husband and I are not the most tech savvy people, so our grandkids will help in setting the phone and tablet up.

“There has not been a lot of good news over the course of the last year because of the pandemic, but winning this competition has been a really welcome boost.

“I have a big family and the grandkids always like using tablets, so they’ll be pleased that I’ve won.

“I’m looking forward to reading books on the tablet because I’ve never done that before.”

Mary appears to be an incredibly lucky individual as this is not the first competition where she has enjoyed success.

She admitted: “I have been fairly lucky with competitions in the past.

“I always look to enter competitions and, with there being less of them over the last year because of Covid, I feel even more privileged to win this one.

“As they always say, you have to be in it to win it.”