My dream stash of prizes from competitions

Grace Boateng

Did you know that every year in England there are chances to win large cash prizes, cars and holidays and lots more? I’m not talking about the National Lottery or Bingo. You may have seen competitions  advertised in magazines, on the television adverts or in your local supermarket.  Like a large majority of people you may be aware of them but have said to yourself: “No one ever wins” or “Surely it’s a con?”. Well I’ll let you in on a little secret.

It is not a con and I am living proof that these prizes can be won. How do I know? Well I am proud to say that “I am a  comper!!” This is the term given to people who as a hobby regularly enter competitions.

Over the years I have won many prizes and experiences that I could only have dreamed of.  Some of my bigger wins have included a seven-night spa retreat holiday for two people to Morocco from the Independent newspaper, a weekend trip to Venice in five-star hotel including flights from Harrods magazine, £2,000 from an on-air radio competition with Kiss FM, a £3,000 MFI kitchen from Hot Stars magazine (luckily delivered two weeks before the company went bust).

A private champagne flight for 20-people on London Eye from Heart FM radio. A Sony Bravia television and Sky+ free for a year. Also, dinner for 10 at The Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Leicester Square, London, VIP MOBO awards tickets from Capital Radio and some smaller but still appreciated wins have been cinema tickets, CDs and shopping vouchers.

There is an element of luck to winning prizes but also the simple task of actually entering them too. They are not difficult to enter, if there is a question the answer can normally be found in the text of the competition or you can use Google. Competitions can be entered by phone, text, email, by filling out a form or sending in a postcard.

So why do companies run competitions? Partly to get your information to add to their database, though you can opt for your details not to be added and this will not reduce your chances of winning. Also, they use them to promote a new product, a film, a concert, an event or just to remind you they are still around. 

There are of course some competitions that are scams and these should be avoided at all costs.  If you get a phone call, email or a letter stating that you've won a prize in a competition you know you didn’t enter and there is a fee to pay then it is a con.  If you have truly won a prize then there is no cost to you whatsoever be it an administration fee or a delivery cost. 

So how do you find these competitions to enter? Well you have to keep your eyes and ears open.  In the supermarket take a closer look at the packaging for details of competitions and leaflets on stands.  Look in magazines and newspapers and pay close attention to the adverts on television and radio. Also keep coming back to The-Latest website to see if the site is running a competition like the £50 giveaway to the winner of a blogging contest.