Student and longtime reader of The Daily News wins $10,000

Natasha Lyndon applied to attend Thompson River's University's culinary arts program on Wednesday, but wondered where she'd get the money.

On Thursday, the publisher of The Daily News solved that question when he handed her a $10,000 cheque.

Lyndon was the winner of The Daily News Great Cash Giveaway Contest, the sole survivor of a reverse draw after 18 other gift certificate winners were eliminated.

Tim Shoults, publisher of The Daily News, told contestants gathered for a catered party and draw in the upstairs of the newpaper's downtown building that 100,000 ballots were cast at 19 participating merchants.

"A person in this room will walk away with $10,000," he declared as the draw began.

In the end, Lyndon stood alone on the stage, $10,000 richer after her name was the sole one left in the hat.

"I'm really a contest person," she said in an interview after her win.

The giveaway was part of a newspaper circulation drive.

A longtime reader, Lyndon said she'd let her subscription lapse after the paper went missing too many times from the front door of her apartment. But when she recently moved into a house, sharing with a friend, she renewed her subscription.

Ballots were available to cut out of the newspaper during the contest. A downtown resident, she dropped off her ballots at Cooper's Foods.

"My roommate told me 'will you stop cutting out the ballot until I read the paper?'"

Shoults said the contest is a reward to subscribers and a fun event for the holiday season.

"Our advertising department worked together and our advertising clients made it possible to give this kind of Christmas present. It's always a thrill."

Lyndon, 51, decided to retrain after recently losing her job. Prior to Thursday's $10,000 win she would have been dependent on student loans.

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