Teenage student wins £704,000 Vault prize

An 18-year-old A-Level student has won the largest cash prize awarded on live television.

An 18-year-old A-Level student has won the largest cash prize awarded on live television.

Mary Swain, from Crosby, Merseyside, UK, beat eight contestants to answer the final 10 general knowledge questions accurately on ITV1's The Vault and pocket the £704,900 (€999,354) prize last night.

The cash prize is the largest sum awarded on live TV, quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is pre-recorded, according to the show's producers Carlton.

Ms Swain said: "It hasn't sunk in at all. I'm completely overwhelmed. My dad's always been interested in pub quizzes and I'm always researching good questions for him."

She said she would spend the money on funding university but added: "My mum and dad will get a lot of it.

"They said before the show, jokingly, that they wanted some sort of holiday home in Spain. That's the only major thing I'll buy, and then it will go towards university for me."

The teenager recently gained four A-Levels from St Edward's College in Liverpool and is now waiting to hear from Trinity College in Dublin where she hopes to study for a degree in music technology.

After seven weeks without a winner, the jackpot on the show - presented by Melanie Sykes - had rolled over to the £700,000 (€992,000) mark.

"We had rehearsals before and I was struggling completely," said Ms Swain. "But it's just that right set of questions. It's so surreal, I can't believe it."

The final question which saw her winnings rise from £6,900 (€9,700) to the £704,900 (€999,354) figure, was the definition of an arctophile - a person who collects teddy bears.

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