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Detectorist hopes to become Britain’s “Hobby Hero”

Eventbrite launched a national competition in May to find the UK’s “Hobby Hero” with the winner receiving £5,000 worth of prizes. The competition aims to find Britain’s biggest hobbyist and help them share their hobby with others. They are looking for someone unusual enthusiasm, dedication, creativity and progress. Mary Wilson a detectorist from Blairdardie in Glasgow has been shortlisted for the prize.

Below is Mary’s story in her own words. It’s great to have such an enthusiastic ambassador promoting all the benefits of the hobby. We wish here all the best in the competition.

Mary’s story

My interest in history was sparked by my father’s collection of pennies. I wanted to combine this with my love of the outdoors and so I started metal detecting about a year ago. Initially I went out by myself but had very little luck, so eventually I joined a special group of metal detectorists called Toddys Digs & Rallies.  It was here my love of metal detecting really began.


My first six months were spent digging up lots of nails, pieces of machinery with the odd old ‘toasted’ coin too. A toasted item means it’s in poor condition. However, slowly but surely I began to find the odd genuine ‘silver’ coin and loved researching the age and history of each.

Out in the countryside. Photo: Mary Wilson
Queen Victoria sovereign: Photo: Mary Wilson

Two of my best finds include a King William silver coin from the 1700s and a 1860 Queen Victoria gold sovereign coin in Perthshire that had been hidden for 180 years. At the time, I was stiff from all my hard work digging but I still managed a celebratory cartwheel in the field as I was so delighted.

Benefits of detecting

It’s such a great hobby. It’s really social and I love meeting my fellow diggers each Sunday for some fun and banter. It’s also been a lovely way to get me exploring the great outdoors and visit places I wouldn’t otherwise go. We tidy as we go, keeping the countryside clean and safe. But it’s also fascinating. You soon begin to realise the depth of what amazing artefacts lie beneath our feet every day.

Winning the competition

It’s a relatively cheap hobby. I started digging with a cheap £250 Minelab detector but have my eyes set on a more expensive model. If I win the contest, I will definitely improve my equipment. I would also like to buy a few more metal detectors so other people can try it out for themselves.

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