Donella drives off in Bluebird - her new competition-winning campervan.

Donella MacDonald of Reef in Uig has had a lucky surprise just as the lockdown measures start to ease across the country and travel can start to resume.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 9:56 am
Donella with Bluebird.
Donella with Bluebird.

Donella is the lucky winner of an amazing bespoke campervan named Bluebird built by North Bound Campervans in Perth

Bluebird is a fully functioning home on wheels that comfortably sleeps three; has cooking facilities; central heating; along with a dining area and lots of storage.

Bluebird was the prize in a draw run by Bristol-based VannyCampers, a company set up by enthusiastic campervan travellers Ryan and Hannah Bonkinson to share their love of life on the open road.

Interior of Bluebird

Donella MacDonald, who bought the winning ticket, and entered the draw via the company’s website at VannyCampers.co.uk on a whim after seeing a neighbour’s own campervan parked nearby.

Announcing the winner live via social media, Ryan and Hannah called Donella on the live stream while more than two thousand people were watching online, “She was speechless and understandably, in a state of happy shock” says Ryan. Out of 5,299 entrants, Donella had purchased only two tickets, one of which was picked as the winner on that draw.

The van was then driven up from Perth and loaded onto the overnight freight ferry from Ullapool last Tuesday (March 9). The next morning, Donella picked the van up and on the way home she snapped this picture of Bluebird in Reef on her way home (right).

Donella told the Gazette: “We were surprised and delighted to find that we had won the competition, after buying only a couple of tickets at the last minute. We collected the van from Stornoway last week and it is currently being set up for what will hopefully be an active season in and around Uig. It’ll be well-used by everybody in the family and we are looking forward to exploring different parts of the islands that we’ve not yet seen.”

Donella's delighted with her win!

Competition promoter Ryan Bonkinson said: “My partner and I run a small campervan competition business online.

"We love travelling and the ethos behind VannyCampers is to give others the chance to win an amazing campervan for a tiny fraction of the cost.

"For us, the magical moment is when we get to call the winner and hear their reaction, in that moment, it makes all the hard work worthwhile. We really love what we do and we couldn't ask for a better winner.

"We can't wait to see both her and Bluebird on their travels in the future!”

Vannycampers isn’t just about making a living for the couple, as well as changing lives with campervans as prizes, they also make donations to various charities.

So far they’ve donated thousands to: Lifesaving defibrillator charities in Wales; Crohn’s & Colitis UK; JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charity – Approximately 400,000 people are currently living with type 1 diabetes in the UK, including 29,000 children. A person with type 1 diabetes will have around 65,000 injections and measure blood glucose more than 80,000 times in their lifetime; The MS Society to help with research, campaigning and fighting the condition.