As we enter the final days and weeks of a two year global pandemic, let's wave goodbye to Covid and cheer in the arrival of Spring with the annual Wanstead Wheatear Sweepstake - now in its 5th year. This year is our biggest to date with 14 entrants covering 28 days in March.
Last years winner Mr Richard Rae will be enjoying the last of his Negroni's from the 'Golden Wheatear Chalice' before he buffs up and polishes this much cherished faux gold trophy, before handing it over. Will Richard win again and become our 1st ever two-time winner? Or will there be a new name on the trophy?
This years draw took place on Friday evening at Wheatear HQ here in north-east London as all the names went into the hat...the tension was palpable as the Chairman (and part-time Jack Dee impersonator) carefully selected each name from the hat to determine the crucial date picking order. Who would pick the all important first date in March? This years honour went to Mr Simon Raper - maybe there will be a new name on the trophy.
Here's the list of of our 14 entrants in the sweepstake and the 2 dates in March they have chosen.
- Whoever correctly predicts the date of the first sighting of a Wheatear on the patch (Wanstead) and within the patch boundary wins!
- In the event of the 1st sighting being on a date not selected (i.e 1st March) then the contestant closest to that date wins. If by chance this date falls between two selected dates then the winner will be the contestant who selected the later date.
- In the unlikely event of a Wheatear not being seen at Wanstead in March (i.e 28th February or 1st April) then no winner be declared and the trophy will be returned to the chairman for safe keeping. All Sweepstake funds will still be given to the chosen charity of choice.
- If a visiting birder, dog walker or Sunday league footballer were to claim a Wheatear sighting, then photographic evidence would need to be gathered and verified before announcing a winner. In the absence of a photograph, the committee will decide if the sighting is viable.
What we are all playing for...it may be small but it means a lot.