Swindon woman Nikki Sellars got through to final of Channel 4 hit quiz show in June but was beaten by a very talented opponent.
Nicki from Peatmoor was not only tackling numeracy and word challenges – she is a busy fundraiser for Breakthrough for Breast Cancer Wiltshire, following the death of her mother Vera Jordan from breast cancer in 2008. Here she describes the final stage of the competition.
"I was excited to back in Manchester again – since my first shows I had made some great friends who would also be in the quarters, including Claudia, the one other woman (a Countdown rarity, apparently); in fact, we all cheered each other on, sharing in each other’s ups and downs.
Having been so shocked to have reached the quarter finals, I was not particularly nervous – I was the 7th of 8 seeds and was up against the second seed (Danny) who had won 8 shows in a row (an ‘octo-champ’). I had watched all of Danny’s shows when they were aired and knew him to be a formidable opponent. I was very lucky to have got through that show with my number rounds really helping me.
In the semi-final I was up against Lee who had beaten me back in my 7th show. I had stayed on to support him during the recording of his next few shows and, again, I realised that he was going to be tough to beat in the word and conundrum rounds. Jeff billed this as a ‘grudge match’ but as we were friends it was just fun to be sitting together again. I really couldn’t believe that I had got through to the final – all 15 years of practice, never missing a show, watching with my daughters as they learnt their letters and numbers via the programme had finally paid off! To have them and my husband there to share the experience was very special.
Ollie, who beat me in the final, was a worthy champion and it was a pleasure to have played against him – unbeaten after 11 shows! I wasn’t nervous because I’d watched all of his episodes and his knowledge of words was amazing and so was just able to enjoy the experience. At the end of the final the presentation of the trophies was conducted in front of the desks and so, for the first time, I had to think carefully about what I wore below the waist!!
I had only auditioned for the show to try something out of my comfort zone and to encourage the schoolchildren that I have worked with to try something challenging but now I’m so glad to be able to put it to another good use and raise money for Breakthrough for Breast Cancer, Wiltshire in memory of my Mum and contribute in my own small way to their £1million target.
I have been able to add a little of my winnings (after my daughters had spent their share!) to the fund-raising – the charity means a lot to me. Mum was always helping me with the baking for my cake sales and I have been able to enjoy so many lovely fund-raising events with dear Breakthrough friends. To everyone who has donated via the website, I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’."
Nicki’s site: www.justgiving.com/Nicki-Sellars