The first contestant to win the jackpot on TV show Deal Or No Deal has said it could have been thanks to her late mother.

Laura Pearce wept as she scooped £250,000 on the Noel Edmonds show, watched on Channel 4 on Sunday night by millions. The 24-year-old had been on the show 27 times before being picked to be the main contestant in with a chance of scooping the top money, The Sun reports.

Laura later explained: “This is for my mum and my family. She meant the world to me and I wish she could have seen me win.”

She lost her mum, Anne, when she died of Alzheimers aged just 47 in 1995. Welsh-born Laura wore Anne’s wedding ring on the show to give her a confidence boost.

“I kept kissing it and hoping the next box didn’t have the £250,000. I’m not a big believer in spirituality, but it would be nice to think mum was up there helping me out.”

Laura won the jackpot with the support of teary-eyed Noel when she stuck with her own box – praying it didn’t contain just £3,000 – and turning down the banker’s offer of £45,000.