Eventbrite’s ‘Hobby Hero’ competition aimed to find Britain’s greatest hobbyist. It is helping them share their hobbies with others in an effort to get the nation connected again.
It’s an initiative supported by one of the world leading experts on wellbeing, Professor Cary Cooper. He advocates using hobbies to boost our mental health.
The ticketing and event platform called on people to enter a national competition to win a £5,000 prize. It’s £2,500 in cash and £2,500 worth of Eventbrite fee credits and expert mentoring to share their passion with others. This is done by revealing all about their curious, creative and meaningful hobbies.
And we Brits love our hobbies! A recent survey by the Pew Institute asked people around the world to list what gives them meaning and happiness in life, and Britain was the only country in the world to put ‘hobbies’ in its top three answers, alongside family and friends.
What Are Hobbies
By definition, hobbies bring people pleasure and can positively impact mental health and wellbeing, offering the opportunity to lose themselves in an absorbing activity, stretch their skills and meet with others.
Hobbies can be enjoyed by anyone, and celebrities are no different. Beyonce is known for her love of beekeeping, Seth Rogan has spread his love of pottery on social media and Julia Roberts is famous in the knitting community.
Psychologist Professor Cary Cooper agrees, saying: “The pandemic, the rising cost of living, and Brexit have left people feeling stressed and out of control. People want to do something they can control, and hobbies offer just that. They can boost your wellbeing because whether you’re knitting, running, hula hooping, abseiling or baking: hobbies offer a great way to take your mind from the stresses of the world and work, take you away from the screen and let you do something positive, creative and fulfilling.
Form New Friendships
“Enjoying a hobby with someone else or in groups is even more beneficial because it provides motivation and social connection. Many people take up a hobby to form new friendships, even if it’s an unconscious thing to them. Even those hobbies that seem insular at first, such as model airplane building or stamp collecting, usually extend our social network as those hobbyists will end up flying their plane or discussing engine problems with others and stamp collectors will swap and buy from one another.
“After two years of social isolation, it’s a joy to see people connecting through hobbies that bring them pleasure and, depending on what you do, improve physical fitness, memory or mood. I recommend taking up a new hobby to many people.”
In-person and online activities on Eventbrite such as beekeeping, pottery and yoga helped attendees stay occupied throughout the pandemic. During several lockdowns, Eventbrite saw thousands either continue to pursue their interests or take up new hobbies by joining online workshops and classes.
Eventbrite’s Sebastian Boppert says: “As we move out of the pandemic, we want to help the nation reconnect through live events. Hobbies are great for our health, they enhance our skills and allow us to make new friends. It’s time we celebrated our hobbies – from the weird and wacky to the crafty and creative – for the benefits they give us and the talent they produce. Our Hobby Hero winner will be someone with enthusiasm and dedication who wants to share it with others and maybe even earn some money with it.”
Joan Drummond, a mature beauty queen from Tameside, who has entered over one hundred beauty pageants over the past forty years, has made it through to the semi-finals of Eventbrite’s Hobby Hero competition, which saw hundreds of entries from throughout the UK.
Joan, a former nurse who holds two science degrees and now tutors GCSE science, entered her first beauty pageant when she was 22, and it has been a hobby ever since. Over the years, she has entered more than one hundred pageants, including Miss Great Britain, Miss England, Miss UK and Miss British Isles, often being the first black contestant to get placed. Joan’s passion for beauty pageants hasn’t waned with age and she can still be found entering competitions but not in her swimsuit today.
Bernadette Shackleton, a 52-year-old upcycle crafter from Yeadon in Leeds, who spent three months turning hundreds of crisp packets into an eco ‘packet-jacket’, has also made it through to the semi-finals. Bernadette is a child support worker and mother to 19-year-old son Ed. She loves recycling from rubbish, and finds beauty in the tiniest detail. Having started collecting used crisp packets to recycle them, she began her ambitious upcycling project during lockdown with her friend Heidi. After three months, countless hours and hundreds upon hundreds of crisp packets, Bernadette’s ‘packet-jacket’ could now see her crowned Eventbrite’s Hobby Hero winner
It’s In The Treasure
Mary Wilson is a 51-year-old metal detectorist from Blairdardie, Glasgow. She recently found a 1860 Queen Victoria gold sovereign coin, and has also made it through. Mary, a mother of two who works for Glasgow City Council Social Work Services, only took up the hobby a year ago. It was a way to fill her time now that her children are older. She had always had a keen interest in history and an old box of penny coins – which her father had accumulated. She also had a desire to get out into the great outdoors. One year on, Mary has made a fantastic group of friends, improved her fitness and mental health. Not only that, she’s kept the countryside litter free and has a collection of historic coins to research.
Another semi-finalist is Teresa Fisher (50) from Stone in Staffordshire, who describes herself as a ‘1940s promenader.’ Her hobby, which involves dressing in vintage 1940s clothes and visiting heritage railways and stately homes.