We had a wonderful response to our first instalment of the Comping Hall of Fame. Turns out we have a lot of big winners out there who want to share their stories with the world! This month, we've been talking to NCA member Donna Cary, who has amassed an amazing list of prizes over the past few years!
"I have been comping for about four years, two of which quite seriously and I have been very fortunate to date with varied wins, thanks to this great hobby," says Donna.
"The excitement of receiving a winning telephone call or letter is just wonderful, whether it is a small or large prize. When it is a big one, the "happy winning factor" stays with you for days!"
But it's not all about luck - persistence plays a big part in keeping the prizes rolling in:
"All keen compers know how much work is involved in this hobby; collecting entry forms, using the grey matter to think up tie-breakers and hours of writing out your name and address on postcards, so when a win comes along it just proves the hard work is worth it.
"During my time entering competitions I have won some lovely prizes, but also, really nice experiences which I could not normally afford."
And what a list of experiences they are! Comping has taken Donna all over the world, but some of her favourite wins have been close to home, including a trip to the opera with her son.
"The prize included two tickets to see Rigoletto at Tunbridge Wells, a book on Opera anecdotes (very useful for compiling tie-breakers in future competitions) and a crate of champagne!
"My son and I travelled to Tunbridge Wells (in the snow) and decided to collect the goodies and champagne first and put them in the car. It was so exciting being given the champagne, as I had never won anything like this before.
"After collecting the goodies we decided to have a complete Italian night, therefore, we went along to a lovely Italian restaurant in the high street and enjoyed a delicious meal washed down with a few drinks.
"We then went to back to the theatre to watch the show and it was great. As my son was studying Italian at school he was able to understand some of the dialogue and I was happy to read the subtitles which were displayed!
The opera was great, and my son said that it was nice to have the opportunity to experience something he wouldn't normally choose to attend."
Donna's luckiest spell came in September 2006, when she scooped all of the following in just 30 days:
Times like this more than make up for the lean patches that all compers have to endure! Donna takes inspiration from letters from other readers, and hopes they'll inspire her to go on and fulfil her comping dreams.
"Any win encourages me to do as many comps as possible and now I have set myself a target to win a trip to New York, a trip to Brazil, a widescreen TV and of course every compers dream, the car!
Therefore, I will be working hard to try and win these prizes and wishing that my name gets pulled out of the hat, because sometimes wishes do come true when combined with determination and help from Simply Prizes."