Meet The Compers: Sue Stoddart

I’m thrilled to have Sue Stoddart join me for my latest Meet The Compers Q&A – Sue is a creative comper, and loves to involve her family and pets in her fantastic prize-winning projects! Sue also runs the private Creative & Effort Competitions Facebook group, which is a great resource for those that love putting a bit of extra effort into their comping. The group opens up to new members a couple of times each year, look out for Sue’s updates in Lucky Learners to find out when the doors open again!

How did you first start comping Sue?

I had entered a few local comps I found on Facebook, but my journey really started when I was introduced to the Lucky Learners group by a friend’s mum back in 2015. I was in awe seeing all of these amazing prizes, won from members of your group! It was a real eye opener and an exciting one to say the least.

What are your favourite competition websites, forums or resources?

I don’t really use many competition websites as such, as I tend to source comps through social media websites or platforms. Although I use Competition Database from time to time. It’s a really good site and I would recommend it to others, especially if you’re new to comping. My two favourite groups are my own creative one and Lucky Learners. Instagram’s algorithm appears to have picked up on that I enter competitions. It filters my feed so I see lot’s of comps when I scroll down. My emails are a good source too, I get about 200 a day (annoying at times!) but I do find some comps through those. 

How much time do you dedicate to comping each day?

It can vary – I don’t enter as many as I used to. Probably 1-2 hours every other day, which definitely beats watching the soaps!

What are your favourite prizes, and why are they so special?

I love nothing more than winning prizes for others. I love sentimental prizes that are personal to them. I love surprising people with my wins too. I once won a 12 months subscription to a book club, which I gave to my mother-in- law for her birthday, as she loves reading. She received one book through the post every month for a year, which was a lovely prize. I nominated my mum to win a hotel stay in Sheffield and to see a musical. I used some of my prize money to book tickets to see Cher (my mum’s idol) and surprised her on her birthday, it was very emotional and really special to us both! I won a £1k TUI voucher and I went to my local travel agents and booked a trip to Iceland, as it’s a place my husband really wanted to go. I surprised him on his 30th birthday!

Are your daughters passionate about comping, and have they had much success?

They loved to get involved when I first started comping and still do occasionally. They have won some incredible prizes between them, especially from creative competitions. Ruby’s drawing of her dream car won her an iPad, and in car entertainment set plus her drawing was professionally illustrated and sent back to her framed. Their little acting video won us a holiday to Disneyland Paris. You had to send in a video of ‘What magic means to you’ The girls did a little video turning themselves into Disney princesses and having a tea party in the Disney castle! 

I’ll never forget you taking a rather special winning telephone call while we were waiting to fly off on the Jet 2 Party Plane to Majorca – a huge cash prize from Radio X! Tell me more about that…

Oh my gosh it still seems so surreal even to this day! I was shortlisted to win £30k from the #SetMeFree competition on Radio X where you had to post a picture of a mundane task you do in everyday life. There were weekly winners of £1k and a final big cash prize of £30k. I realised that people were being creative with their entries. I had a brainstorm and decided to make a cake with little figures of cleaning, and myself with all of this mess around me!

It was the final week and I was shocked to make it through to the final callers. Having to take the call on the way to meet all of these other compers was crazy, but certainly one to remember! I tried to find a quiet place in the airport with my husband, sister and brother in-law. Compers whom I had never met were walking past me in their Lucky t-shirts and I recognised a few from their profiles! They were on their way to the Departure Lounge, whilst I was talking to Chris Moyles – I was a nervous wreck. I waited anxiously after putting the phone down  – they told me they would be calling the winner back. IT WAS ME! I WON £30K!! I nearly passed out and I cried a bit on the phone! My sister recorded it all, and I was in so much shock. Then I had to meet you all and at the same time explain what had happened. Some of the group were listening in already and came up to congratulate me. I was rather calm after but bursting inside. I just could not believe it had happened to me. it really didn’t register with me properly, until I saw the money in my account a few days later! 

Which winning entry are you most proud of?

It has to be the rocket ship we created from household items for a Heart Radio competition. This was one of the most amazing and memorable prizes I have ever won! We shared our entry on social media, and If Heart sent you a DM then phoned, you instantly won an incredible prize bundle which included all of this:

  • 6 months subscription to Netflix 
  • Portable refractor telescope for beginners & kids 
  • 128GB Samsung Galaxy S7+ tablet 
  • 12-months kids toucan box craft subscription 
  • Sega Homestar home planetarium projector 
  • 2x Buggle-Up2-person outdoor bean bags 
  • Small outdoor steel firepit 
  • 4x recycled wool knee blankets 
  • 4x telescopic marshmallow roasting sticks and a bag of giant toasting marshmallows.

But that wasn’t the end of it… each daily winner (five in total) had the chance to win a stargazing staycation holiday, which came with a geometric dome for stargazing, a fully stocked kitchen with spending money and last but not least, the chance for your rocket to be sent up to actual space! You had to answer five questions about space and the quickest to answer throughout the week would win the final prize. I was the quickest so far and had to wait on the line whilst I listened to the last caller answer their questions. I would either get put through to air or have the ‘sorry you didn’t win’ call. I did feel bad when the caller got a couple of answers wrong, but it was Ruby who realised we had won at that moment, as it pushed your time back if you answered any incorrectly. She was jumping up and down and I was trying to be calm ready to be put through on air. 

We had the most magical holiday especially as I was able to bring my mum and my in-laws. We also got upgraded to a bigger property which had its own little lake and stargazing dome set out on it!  And of course, our home made rocket was launched into space and filmed for us to see it floating around! The girls’ teachers showed the video to their classes and their friends were all amazed.

You have two cute dogs (Lily and Luna) – do you have any tips for winning pet photo competitions?

Lots of patience! Always have someone on hand to help keep the pets happy (plenty of treats should do the trick) Make your own costumes and props if you can, to save money. I’ve used plenty of cardboard boxes! Lily isn’t bothered bless her, she just gets on with it and is happy for the treats. Luna is a little tricky at times. I won’t force her to do it though, if she’s not happy and not sitting still, I try once more later on – or just leave her be.

What’s been your most embarrassing comping experience so far?

I once dressed up as a strawberry, with my face painted green and stood outside Spar to try and win a car! My mum took the picture and I had some funny looks off the passers by. It was a random draw – I didn’t win, but Spar sent me £50 Love2Shop vouchers to thank me for making the effort, which was really kind of them as there wasn’t a runners up prize. Sorry I don’t have the evidence anymore to show you how silly I looked. (I’m not sure I believe you Sue! – Di)

Have your comping habits changed at all during the pandemic?

At the beginning of the pandemic I spent more time on creative/effort based comps. We had so much fun, we made a rocket den in the garden and we turned our lounge and conservatory into one giant den. It gave us lots of time to focus on creative entries as a family too.

Some of my own favourite creative competition entries didn’t win me a prize at all! Do you have any favourite losing entries to share?

There was a competition with Sky to win £3k, a Sky package and ELF style decorations for your home. I turned my living room into a scene from our favourite Christmas movie ELF! That was so much fun to make. I spent hours drawing, making costumes and baking a cake. There were some brilliant entries too, so I knew it would be hard to win.

The rocket den we made out of cardboard in the garden didn’t win the competition, but it was still so much fun taking part and it lasted a few days before it rained, so the girls enjoyed playing in it.

Do you have any funny comping stories?

I once abandoned my mother- in-law with my trolley of shopping, to run outside and ring Magic radio when they said my name on air! I have members of Lucky Learners to thank for helping me to win £2k! The presenter called the winner’s name out on air and you had twenty minutes to call up and claim your prize. We set up a post to help each other out in case you weren’t listening in and your name was called out! So many people messaged me to say that my name was called out – I usually don’t get a phone signal in Asda, but thankfully this time I did! I mumbled something to my mum in law about radio, 2k, gotta go… then legged it out as quick as I could and hid under a trolley station, as it was windy! I answered a multiple choice question correctly – and won!

Along with me and several other Meet The Compers interviewees (Andrea, Jordon & Julia) you were on the Lucky Party Plane to Majorca! What was it like to meet so many compers in real life?

It was amazing and surreal at the same time! You are all a lovely bunch and I’m forever grateful for being able to meet with you all! It was a jam-packed weekend full of fun and laughter. It felt like a whirlwind, but it was just an incredible experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity, I most certainly won’t ever forget!

Have you had any luck with purchase necessary comps?

Yes! Only fairly recently though, it used to be that I hardly ever won them apart from a few oven gloves and a chocolate bar here and there. My biggest win was winning a staycation holiday from the Nestlé ‘Win a Staycation Every Day’ campaign. Just from buying a KitKat Chunky! You could choose a location up to the value of £1,500, so we chose a beautiful cottage in Consett and are going this year.

What would be your dream competition prize?

An all expenses paid holiday to Disney World Florida… I’m still working on that one! 

Talking of Florida, tell me about your Faces for Florida win!

Ah yes the famous FFF (as we all used to call it) was an annual competition from Heart Radio and it was probably the most stressful competition some of us compers had ever entered! I entered copious amounts for the first few years and after being so disheartened, I almost gave up entering it altogether. I won it on the fourth and final year. I spent about two hours before the deadline re-arranging my entry and almost didn’t enter in the end, as I just knew it wouldn’t win.

Well I’m so pleased I did, as they rang me the next morning to say I had been shortlisted. Then the day after I had a Zoom call with Jamie Theakston and Lucy Horobin. We won! I was in so much shock. We won a holiday to Miami! It was a fantastic holiday, although the heat was unbearable for the girls in particular. We got to do some incredible activities, my favourite was our ride on an airboat over the Everglades! An alligator and two turtles came right up to our boat.

Finally, do you have any comping tips to share?

  • Don’t be afraid to try something out of your comfort zone, it could win you something incredible and possibly life changing.
  • Don’t be too disheartened if you have put a lot of effort in your entries (something I have learnt along the way) because you can always recycle the photos/videos and enter other comps with them. I have reused some of mine and even won bigger prizes!
  • Take regular breaks, even a few days or weeks. You will feel refreshed, motivated and will come back to it with a new attitude towards comping.
  • Read other people’s wins and share your comping journey with other compers. I do this and it gives me lots of inspiration.

Thanks so much Sue, I love all these prize stories!

If you enjoyed this interview please do check out the other Meet The Compers Q&As here.

5 Responses

  1. JMC says:

    Brilliant, so inspiring…… off to find and make more effort with some creative comps!!

  2. Natalie says:

    Love reading these amazing comping stories x

  3. Rebecca Beesley says:

    What awesome stories!!! Love seeing these photos. You and your family put so much effort into these creative comps – so many well deserved wins.

  4. Maralyn Smith says:

    Wow Sue, how amazing! I thought I’d done well with all the holidays abroad that I’d won as well as the other prizes, most of which I gave away. I don’t enter many now as it was the tiebreakers that I seemed to win and I enjoyed putting them together. Keep comping!!!!

  5. Elaine Fitzpatrick says:

    Loved reading this. I was at the airport when the news went round that you’d won the £30k and can still remember your face as you came to the boarding gate. Fabulous prizes

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