Anna and family win first North Devon Christmas they’ll never forget

A Torrington nurse has 'won Christmas' courtesy of the Gazette and a whole host of generous North Devon businesses.

More than 600 readers entered our annual festive competition, launched in the Gazette's Christmas magazine in November - and mum-of-two Anna Rayner has walked away with a stack of prizes worth an estimated £700.

Anna and husband Dan are looking forward to an extra-special first Christmas in North Devon after picking up their super prize at Johns of Instow yesterday morning (Wednesday).

"I couldn't believe it when I got the call on Friday to say I'd won," said Anna, who moved to North Devon with Dan and children Billy, aged 10, and Rosie, aged four, in June.

Gazette '‘Win Christmas'’ winners Anna and Dan Rayner (centre) pick up their prize at Johns of Instow, with (from left) Jean Sharples and Sue Anthony Johns. Picture: Andy KeebleGazette '‘Win Christmas'’ winners Anna and Dan Rayner (centre) pick up their prize at Johns of Instow, with (from left) Jean Sharples and Sue Anthony Johns. Picture: Andy Keeble

"I've never really won anything before but it's been a good week because I also won a hamper at the Langtree School Christmas fair. Everyone said I should enter the lottery this weekend!"

Among the prizes - all donated by local businesses - were a food hamper worth £70 from Johns of Appledore and Instow; £100 in Atlantic Village gift cards; a bespoke bangle worth £150, handmade by Barnstaple jeweller James Bishop; a real Christmas tree from North Devon Christmas Trees and Wreaths; a holly wreath from Smallridges of Barnstaple; and a set of Christmas lights from BJ's Value House.

There was also wine from Majestic Wine; a Christmas cake from Crumb Creations in Barnstaple; a Christmas craft pack from Little Elephant Stationery in Bideford; a £50 voucher for a pre-or-post-Christmas pamper at Charley's Angels Nails and Beauty in Barnstaple; and a voucher for a family portrait session from J&A Cameras and Photography.

No Christmas would be complete without a trip to the panto, so a family ticket to see Aladdin at the Queen's Theatre - as well as free drinks on the night - was also included.

And as newcomers to North Devon, winners Anna and Dan, who works for Bovis Homes, said they were also looking forward to visiting some of the area's top family attractions next year - we've included tickets to the Milky Way; BIG Sheep; Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park; and Lundy Island.

Anna said: "We're new to the area and are really excited about being able to take the kids to these places next year.

"And we can't wait to see Aladdin - we haven't been to a panto for years so it'll be a really nice treat for us all."

You can read the Gazette's Christmas magazine here.