Meet The Compers: The Radfords

I’m delighted to have a family of compers join me for my latest Meet The Compers Q&A! Jamie, Diane and their daughter Matilda love getting stuck in to a creative challenge, and their fun photos always put a smile on my face when they pop up on my Instagram feed. 

How did you all start comping?

Diane: When was little, I used to do all the wordsearches in my dad’s fishing magazines and I won him a bunch of fishing equipment! Quite a few years later I started comping regularly after my brother Tim won a few competitions. Jamie then caught the comping bug when we were trying to win nice things for our first house. These days it’s a real family affair between myself, Jamie, our daughter Matilda and my brother Tim.

Do you find it easier to win now, or when you started?

I think it used to be easier. Most good competitions now seem to be via Instagram – which although easy enough to enter, rely less on a creative or funny picture. We do well in Facebook comps where you enter with a comment but can also add a photo too. 

What are your favourite competition resources?

That would have to be SuperLucky and Sue Stod’s Creative & Effort Competitions Facebook Group (Sue’s group opens to new members a couple of times a year, so look out for a post in Lucky Learners! – Di) 

Do you have a comping routine?

We spend anything from ten minutes to a few hours comping each day, depending on life admin or how stressful work has been. We tend to save creative comps for the weekends when there’s time to do them together as a family. We dig out the pens, paints, scissors, glue and glitter! 

What’s your favourite prize, and why was it so special?

Jamie: Last year I won a family holiday to Venice which I am super excited about, but my favourite is probably the Zombie Survival Experience I won in a radio competition that I did with my brother-in-law!

Diane: One of my first bigger prizes was a VIP day at Wimbledon. We had always wanted to go because that’s how Jamie and I first re-connected, by watching tennis in the summer after my gap year. I won the prize by finding a secret tennis themed location in London at Love Lane (around the corner from where I was working at the time) and picking a prize tennis ball. We got tickets to Centre Court, access to the Evian VIP suite and all the champers and strawberries we could manage!

A VIP day at Wimbledon!

What’s your favourite type of competition?

We enjoy the creative ones we can do as a family – whether that’s making a giant robot out of cardboard, dressing up like idiots or a colouring or writing competition. We seem to do pretty well in creative and photo comps! 

Which winning competition entry are you most proud of?

Diane: we make a lot of things out of cardboard – it’s a really fun way to recycle all the packaging from the prizes we receive.  I was particularly proud of the Big Ben and London Bus we created. 

Are there any types of prize promotions you’d like to see more or less of?

Voting comps are a massive pain, they’re not fair and the best entry never wins. They don’t end well and everyone feels aggrieved even if a great entry wins. They’re not worth the bother! 

What do you love most about comping?

It’s a great way to be able to experience things we might not usually afford or think to do. It also means we can be a little bit more generous at birthdays and Christmas! We have won amazing experiences from gin making, JCB Racing, music festivals, football and rugby VIP days out, Michelin star meals, The Shard for Christmas… 

Gin making

…and what’s the worst thing about comping?

Jamie: It sounds mean but I hate the people that try and win with a sob story – it makes you feel bad for wanting to win – especially when the person is desperate for a new umbrella because their cat’s dentist lost a sock. “Pick me!!!”

Have you had any luck with radio competitions?

Diane: I won a new phone with Virgin Radio, Jamie won the Zombie Experience and Venice trip. It’s not our normal go-to as we don’t listen to the radio much but we intend to try more this year.

The Radfords on their prize trip to Venice

Have you ever won a year’s supply of something?

Yes! Beer, pies, fruit juice and olive oil. We had to share the oil out, there is only so much you can use!

What’s the strangest prize you’ve won?

Jamie: Due to an admin error I won an abundance of socks as part of a Regatta bundle. Most of the men in the family therefore got socks that year for Christmas and we donated some to a local homeless charity. I am still going through some to this day!  We also won a box of potatoes from Albert Bartlett (and a picnic hamper!) with our desert island photo…

Prize-winning potato salad… on a desert island!

Which other compers do you look to for inspiration?

You of course! We love Annie Taylor’s funny vids, Nikki Hunter-Pike’s geeky creations and Sue Stod’s cakes too.

What are the advantages of being a comping family?

Jamie: I am always happy to dress up as all sorts whereas Di is a whizz behind the camera and making props that would make Neil Buchanan green with envy.

Diane: And Matilda is the cute star of the show so overall we are a good team.

Jamie: not the cat though, she doesn’t like posing for pictures so no good for pet comps – naughty Koshka!

Do you have any favourite losing creative entries to share?

Our Faces For Florida Brexit Bus effort should have won something – maybe it was a little too political! It’s a shame as we would have loved to take Matilda to Disney – but it’s still on our wishlist for 2023. 

A really clever and fun Faces for Florida entry!

Speaking of Matilda, is she passionate about comping?

I wouldn’t say she is passionate about it really, she doesn’t know any different! She’s grown up with mummy and daddy comping so likes to get involved… she probably thinks everyone does it! Matilda does like colouring in and cooking – it gives us something to do as a family. It’s also a good life lesson – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but it’s always fun to try. She recently won a ‘Designer Friend’ comp – the prize was a Christmas jumper made for her and her doll based on her design and she loved it!

Matilda in her winning jumper design!

What would be your dream competition prize?

It sounds a bit dull but a total house renovation would be great – or hotel accommodation for a year whilst we get the house jazzed up! 

A few years ago now, you won an amazing prize to light up your street for Christmas – tell me about that, it must have been magical!

That was one of the best prizes we have ever won. It was a comp run by Dunelm – you had to comment with your favourite Christmas Tradition. We explained that every year our road has a street advent where every house turns on their Christmas lights according to their house number. The prize was a massive collection of Christmas lights and outdoor ornaments to share out with the street. It all arrived in a huge pallet during the day which I struggled to fit in the living room. Then when Jamie came home after work on the Friday he dressed up as Santa and shared them all out with the neighbours – it was amazing!

Jamie enjoying his Santa moment!

Do you have any comping tips to share?

Photograph everything you do, because you never know when you’ll need that picture of your Sunday Roast or the time when your ceiling caves in (yes we used that picture!). It doesn’t matter if you don’t win a prize this time – just have fun trying, and there is always next time! Don’t let comping become a chore, give yourself a break and don’t worry about what other people are winning and what you are missing out on.

Thank you so much Diane & Jamie for joining me on SuperLucky – I hope you bag that DisneyWorld trip soon!

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

4 Responses

  1. Elizabeth Geldart says:

    What a lovely interview, the Radfords have a great attitude to comping, making it a fun family activity!

  2. Angela Webster says:

    It’s great that the whole family get involved, well done on your fantastic prizes!

  3. Karen Minton says:

    Awww that was great – love the photos too – great creative fun and love that Matilda is using her creative skills to win some design comps too (lush jumper) … stay lucky lovely people <3

  4. Geoff Dagger says:

    Thanks for sharing

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