Thank you for visiting The Big Debt Payoff. The competition is now closed. Debt help is still available from

Thank you for visiting The Big Debt Payoff. The competition is now closed. Debt help is still available from

Andrew’s Story

"I can’t believe I won - I’m so relieved"

Our 2020 winner’s story is a tale of love and loss – something we’re all familiar with now more than ever.

However, the ending of Andrew Carswell’s story brought some much-needed joy to a hard year.

The Ayrshire man was crowned the winner of the Big Debt Payoff 2020 when we cleared his £14,367 of debt.

Andrew found himself struggling financially at just 21-years-old when he took on a loan to cover the cost of marrying his childhood sweetheart.

The pair had both known each other since they were teenagers and were looking forward to their future together. But the strain of planning and paying for a wedding on top of everyday expenses sadly brought the relationship to an end – leaving Andrew with sole responsibility for the debt.

Now, thanks to the Big Debt Payoff, he can start to look to the future.

“Winning seemed too good to be true but I’m so relieved,” Andrew revealed.

“I got engaged when I was quite young. I was only 21 but had known the girl since I was 13.

“When it came to planning the wedding I went to the bank for a loan. I’d never borrowed money before and only wanted £5,000 at the most but they talked me into taking £10,000 because the interest would be better. 

“They said surely you could do with the extra money and I thought you know what I could. I didn’t think about it at the time but when you added the interest on it was £15,000 in total. I signed the paper myself, took full responsibility.”

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At the time Andrew was working as a leisure club manager and juggling everyday household payments as well as a loan repayment of more than £250 per month. Eventually, the pressure of the payments became too much and the relationship suffered.

He continued: “My ex wasn’t working and I was getting stressed managing the finances on my own. We eventually gave up our private let to stay with my mum because we just couldn’t afford it and things just got worse from there.

“I was 21, working 40 hours a week and doing personal training on the side and my partner and I started to fall out. We didn’t have money to do anything like go to the cinema and things got a bit nasty before it ended.

“The wedding was booked, we were getting married in a church in Ayr, our honeymoon was booked – the full shooting match. It was hard.”

After the split, Andrew struggled to get by, working every hour possible but was still only left with £100 to spend every month after his bills were paid.

His life changed, however, when he met someone who suggested entering a Trust Deed and he began to regain control of his finances.

As a Carrington Dean client, he was entered into the Big Debt Payoff and was crowned the 2020 champion after being selected at random.

Speaking of the win, he said: “It’s a weight off my mind. I wasn’t thinking of the debt all the time but it was in my mind somewhere. Every time I saw money coming out of my account or I looked at my balance it was a reminder of everything that happened and it was hard.

“Now I can look to the future and I’m looking forward to moving on.”

Win the chance to have your unsecured debts cleared!

To find out more about managing your money and getting free advice, visit Money Helper, independent service set up to help people manage their money.

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