Anne Lee's Story
Like many readers, I have won many wonderful prizes over the years, but I wonder how many other prize winners can claim that a prize actually saved their lives!
I was delighted to win a BUPA check-up a few years ago. I had already enquired about the prices, as I had been feeling under the weather for a while. This was brilliant timing and I could hardly believe my good luck. Maybe the fact that I was genuinely interested influenced my slogan writing. The doctor was horrified to find that my blood pressure was sky-high – practically off the scale. She rang my G.P. there and then and insisted that I should be seen later that day and put on immediate medication. She was even concerned that I was still driving. This explained the severe headaches that I had been suffering for months. I am now three years down the line and have never suffered another headache. I will be on medication for the rest of my life, but feel fine and I am able to carry on with full-time teaching. Thank you, Flora!
I usually try not to rush slogan writing, as I often change or totally discard what I’ve written when I return to it. However, my biggest win (financially) was a most last minute effort. I belong to a local competitors’ club that meet once a month in each others’ houses on a Friday night. We were all saying our goodbyes one evening when one of the members waved a copy of ‘Exchange & Mart’ around to show us a slogan competition to win a VW Golf. “It’s a bit late for this now because it closes on Monday”, he declared. This was Friday and there were no spare copies. After trying the local late-night opening supermarkets that evening and the large newsagents in our county town the following day, I nearly gave up. I popped into my local corner shop on Sunday morning and asked there. To my surprise, the assistant told me that one copy had lost its cover and was in her bin! The competition was safely protected on the middle pages. Yes! I had half an hour before the post collection was due. A few days later, the phone rang!
The Yamaha Waverider Jetski that I won was worth £5,999. This was one of two jetskis to be won in a competition organised by Stena Line. This involved a family trip to France in the hopes that entry forms would be available in the duty-free shop as advertised. Unfortunately, we chose the wildest day with rough seas. Passengers simply opted for the nearest chair and were afraid to move for the entire crossing. It took some determination and balance on my part to descend two flights of stairs to enter the shop, but my effort was rewarded! For once, I didn’t even have to ask for a form. The competition was well-advertised with posters, a display stand and hundreds of forms. I made the necessary purchase and clung to the handrails for support on my return journey to the upper deck.
My husband loves watching sport and I have won many tickets for him to sporting events. He enjoyed a trip to the football World Cup in Rome, but had difficulty choosing which friends to take with him. When the next World Cup came around, he cheekily requested three prizes this time, in order not to offend his other friends! We were both amazed when I did just that! He was hardly home from one match before it was time to depart for the next! He had a marvellous time in France and I had a peaceful time at home without hours of football on the box!
My lifetime’s dream was to go for a supersonic trip on Concorde. I was really disappointed when a major supermarket offered 40 trips on Concorde and multiple entries were allowed. Despite clearing the supermarket’s shelves of the products required to enter and being really pleased with the variety of slogan styles submitted, alas, no luck. A year later, my luck changed and the much longed-for LWE landed on my doormat. What a memorable day that was! Champagne as we approached Mach 2 and the opportunity to visit the cockpit as Concorde flew over Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. All the passengers took photographs of each other on board. We also took part in an air show in the West Country and flew low over the airfield and cheering crowds.
The Orient Express was a special treat with my elderly mother. We won a day trip with Hornby Trains and enjoyed wonderful attention from the waiters. They ensured my mother had a day that she would never forget. When the trip was over and we were about to leave the train, they collected all the floral arrangements from the dining tables in our carriage and arranged them into a bouquet for her. I was delighted to win another trip the following year which was just as wonderful. A genuine pampering experience.
My funniest experience at a prize presentation was with a well-known chain of national newspapers. I spotted a ‘WIN’ sign from across a store and filled in two straightforward questions about a range of romantic fiction that was being promoted in store. The answers merely asked for characters’ names. These only took seconds to locate before my prize draw to win a patio set and bottle of champagne was in the box. At this stage, it was the only entry in the box. Weeks went by before I was informed of my win and invited to the prize presentation which was scheduled to take place outside the store, in the pedestrian shopping precinct. When I arrived, sure enough, the patio set and bottle of champagne had been set up outside, with store security staff guarding it. Piles of romantic fiction being promoted were arranged on the patio table. Two policemen appeared and asked the gathering crowd what was happening. I could hear the crowd saying that although no one had been to tell them what was going on, they surmised that the author of “all those books” must be making a personal appearance and would be signing autographs! At this point I couldn’t even get to the front door of the store. The two policemen decided to send for extra support. The store manager was provided with a microphone and decided to interview me about my win. I did suggest that perhaps I could collect my prize and leave quietly but he was having none of it. Perhaps I shouldn’t have told him that I had never read any of the books they were promoting, or didn’t have a favourite title or author in the range. He gave up when he asked me which book I was presently reading. I replied that it was an Open University book called ‘Man’s Religious Quest’ as I was studying for a degree. He was speechless. The crowd was puzzled. My young son was bored. We quickly gathered up the prizes and fled. I even signed a couple of autographs en route.
Can you imagine stepping out of one of five stretch limousines outside Harrods? Well, that also happened to me thanks to Coca-Cola. Each of the five winners was allocated a stretch limo for a whole day in London, visiting the Wax Museum, lunch at a Covent Garden restaurant with free choice of food and drink, £300 spending money at Harrods, plus a meeting with the pop group ‘Steps’. What a day that was! The stretch limo driver even dropped us off at Victoria in time for our train home. Several of the passengers had seen this and stared and smiled at us on the journey.
This wonderful hobby of ours has given me so many hours of pleasure of the years. Friends, family and charities have gained from prizes. I so enjoy writing a slogan that rhymes or uses word-play that I feel pleased with.
If I never win another prize, I shall always be grateful for the hours of pleasure that I have enjoyed down the years. I have made friends in competition clubs, days and meetings. I love to hear of their successes and look forward to supporting each other through thick and thin LWE’s in the years to come.