ANDREA Bedlington entered a radio competition to find couples where one of the pair was ‘punching above their weight’.
But bosses were stunned when she was invited to the radio station and turned up with her husband’s ashes.
Andrea, of South Shields, decided to enter the competition as a tribute to late husband Andrew, who she always believed was better-looking than she was.
Sadly she was disqualified when radio bosses discovered Andrew had passed away in 2013.
But they were so moved by her story, they gave her a special prize of a holiday.
Bosses at Newcastle-based radio station Metro have promised to send Andrea and the pair’s daughters, Shannon, 18, and Chloe, 11, on a sunshine break.
Andrea, 36, said she had entered the contest as a tribute to Andrew – but didn’t expect to get very far in it.
However, after being asked to appear on the breakfast show, with presenters Steve and Karen, she was surprised with the family trip.
Andrea, who lives with her daughters in Marsden, said: “I couldn’t believe it when they said they were sending us on holiday.
“Andrew was the breadwinner. He ran an agency for HGV drivers and things like that and I was a stay-at-home mum.
I checked the rules on the website and all it said is that the couple had to turn up to the studio together, so we did – I took him along in his urn.Andrea Bedlington
“Since he died, I’ve gone back to college to train as an accountant so I can get a job, but it would be years before I could save up enough for us to go on holiday together.
“Chloe would be grown up by the time I’d get the money and Shannon will probably be moved out with a family of her own, so this is going to be our last holiday together as a family, and I’m just so grateful to Metro Radio for everything.”
Andrew passed away in October 2013, at the age of 41, from an accidental overdose on prescription medication. He was taking morphine to ease the pain of osteoarthritis in his lower back and knees.
Andrea, who is studying accountancy at South Tyneside College, said: “I remember him saying he was going to take his medication and go up to bed, and then the phone rang and he got chatting for a while.
“He must have got distracted and forgot that he’d already taken his medication and took some more.
“It was absolutely devastating for me and the girls. I wanted to enter this contest as a tribute to Andrew, but it was actually my oldest daughter’s idea at first. She heard it on the radio and said I should enter and I said she was daft.
“I checked the rules on the website and all it said is that the couple had to turn up to the studio together, so we did – I took him along in his urn.
“I think they were quite shocked when I turned up. Andrew was amazing, and I still can’t actually believe he married me, so I wanted to do this as a tribute to him.
“I wasn’t expecting it to go anywhere or to win, it was just a way of keeping him alive in my memory and keeping him close to me.”
Metro Radio’s Karen Wight said: “Andrea is a beautiful woman, an amazing strong person who has given a lot of people inspiration for how she has managed to get herself and her family through such a tough year.”