Meet the compers: Lee Gardner
Welcome to another of my ‘Meet the Compers’ series of Q&As! Lee Gardner has been comping since the 90s and has won prizes including a trip to Florida, £1000 Argos vouchers – and even played football at the Millennium Stadium. Lee and I were both interviewed by The Guardian for this 2018 feature about compers, and it’s great to chat to him here at SuperLucky!
How did you first get into comping?
I started comping around 25 years ago! I used to enter competitions on my local radio station when I got home from school and won countless clock radios, aprons, pens etc. with the local radio logo on – I passed on my excess prizes to all my relatives! That was the start of my spiralling obsession of being a comper.
Which websites, forums or resources do you use for comping?
After I won every Radio Cumbria prize under the sun, I started looking elsewhere for competitions. I stumbled across two websites that I used in my early days, uk.rec.competitions which was a basic forum-based competition thread and Loquax. I used to spend hours upon hours on Loquax, but these days I find Money Saving Expert much easier to use and I like the layout. I’m also a subscriber to Compers News and find their purchase-necessary competitions and forum a major plus.
How much time do you dedicate to comping each day?
I spend around 1-2 hours daily, I usually trawl through the MSE posts making a note on my phone of how far I got, and then I’ll look at what prizes I want to win and enter those. I’ll also check the Compers News Chatterbox forum for any text-to-win and other comps. With having two kids, I’d like to spend more time comping but it’s just not possible!
What’s your favourite prize, and why was it so special?
I have two particular prizes that stick in my mind. I won a holiday to Florida with a purchase of M&Ms a few years ago – we would never have been able to afford a trip to Florida so to be able to take my kids (when they were at ideal Disney age) was amazing and I will never forget the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The other – which was probably more amazing – was watching my son walk out with Spurs v Real Madrid in the MasterCard mascot competition, it made it even more special that he was first out (albeit not Ronaldo). The prize is one that will stick in my mind and his mind for years to come. It was truly a money can’t buy experience – special moments like these are why I love comping so much!
The majority of compers are female – do you find it an advantage or disadvantage to be a male comper?
I dont find it an advantage or a disadvantage if I’m honest – although I may be more likely to win prizes that are more pushed towards men, like football tickets etc. I do think that a lot of competitions nowadays are geared towards women, particularly on Twitter. The amount of makeup and perfume competitions is huge! However I do still enter them as a present for my better half (always good for brownie points!).
What do your friends and family think of your hobby?
My family love my hobby and my parents have just started to enter Facebook competitions from the links I share! They love hearing about my wins, and everyone at work asks me what I’ve been winning – along with the famous “Oh you win everything!” quotes. I do think there can sometimes be negativity on Facebook, as people are often sick of their timeline filling up with my likes and shares, but they can always unfollow me or remove the posts from their timeline. As long as I’m winning, I’m happy.
Tell me about your amazing ‘Epic entrance’ prize with Strongbow…
I won the chance to take 5 friends to Kendal Calling festival with a Strongbow on-pack promotion. They even organised a helicopter ride from our local town to take us to the event! We were made to feel like VIPs – we stayed in bell tents and had free Strongbow all weekend, and at the festival everyone was talking about the helicopter and we felt like celebrities! We even saw another member of Lucky Learners do their own epic entrance later in the day.
Which prizes are top of your wishlist at the moment?
Obviously another holiday would be amazing, I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights so I’m putting a lot of effort in to search for those comps at the minute. I would also love to win an Apple Watch as a treat for myself. My younger son is almost 7 now so I’m keeping my eye out for the ongoing Mastercard mascot competitions to see if his beloved Manchester City pops up!
What’s your favourite type of competition?
I’m an absolute sucker for instant win competitions, in particular winning moments. There’s nothing better than entering and finding out straight away if you have won! I’ve done well with winning moment competitions over the years winning Playstations, an Amazon Echo, football tickets and more. I also love creative competitions – although I’m not that good at them, I’m getting inspiration from all the amazing ideas in the Lucky Learners group!
What are your top comping tips?
Make sure you enjoy your hobby! I love entering the competitions and winning is a bonus. If you’re entering winning moment competitions always do it in the early hours as you stand the best chance of winning then. Try purchase necessary competitions – I tend to win the most prizes from those. And keep checking the weekly winners post in Lucky Learners – when you’re having a dry spell looking at other compers’ wins will give you the lift you need!
Thanks so much Lee – and good luck with winning that Northern Lights trip!