A CONTESTANT from Swindon held her nerve after taking the gamble of a lifetime on Deal or No Deal to land the £250,000 top prize.

Nong Skett, 21, struck it rich after shedding tears during an agonising wait with her mother to find out if the box she had chosen was the winner.

Despite the nail-biting finish she had been convinced throughout the show – in which contestants are asked “Deal or no Deal?” by host Noel Edmonds – that her luck was in.

The pricing analyst took a 50/50 gamble on claiming the fortune or leaving with just £5 – and made the heart-wrenching decision to turn down an offer of £68,000 from the banker.

She described the experience – on one of the most dramatic episodes of the Channel 4 show ever recorded – as “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.

“Everything’s like a dream at the moment,” Nong said.

“Everybody’s been so supportive and I have had so many nice comments. It’s been amazing. My mum has said she’s so relieved that I’m set up for life and can buy my own house. It’s changed our lives for the better.”

Nong, from Nythe , buried her face in her hands and was comforted by her mother after turning down the banker’s final offer to follow her hunch about box number four.

“I wanted to stay as positive as I could throughout the game but when you’re there the pressure is just immense,” she said.

“My mum was such a big influence next to me because she had a good feeling. I believed in her and I believed in myself even though it was crazy. I had a voice in the back of my mind saying it was my day. I didn’t want to cry but you get emotional.”

Nong, who moved to the UK from Thailand aged four, takes the all-female list of quarter-million winners to five.

She will continue to work for a fuel company and has put most of her money away. But the former Dorcan Academy student will move out of home for the first time once she has found a house and has splashed out on one present – a Mercedes Benz for her mother.

“Even though I’ve won the money I still want a life and a career,” she said.

“The people I work with are lovely and I’d be bored sat at home doing nothing so I’m sticking with it.”

Her windfall comes ahead of the 2,000th episode of the show – in which contestants eliminate 22 boxes ranging between a penny and the grand prize – on August 20.

To view a clip of Nong’s win on Sunday’s show visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=3upxdjIiujA