National competition opens to find UK’s best beach hut for life

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Authored by Mary
Posted: Sunday, July 26, 2020 - 17:24

Life’s a Beach Hut:  A brand new competition celebrating the UK’s iconic and much-loved coastline Beach Huts has been launched by Ipswich-based insurance specialist firm, Ryan’s Insurance - with over £600 of prizes up for grabs.

In collaboration with Millie’s Beach Huts, the inaugural competition is calling on the UK’s 20,000-plus beach hut owners to come together and compete to become the prestigious winners of the first ever ‘Ryan’s Beach Hut of the Year 2020’ winner – with beach hut uses rather than simply aesthetics playing a key role in the judging.

Vicky Gunn, owner of Walton-on-the-Naze based, Millie’s Beach Huts, and judge for the competition, said: “There have been other beach hut competitions over the years but this one, celebrating use, rather than just aesthetics, brings a new and very welcome dimension – and diversion – in a very difficult year for so many people.”

A wave of demand 

A common fixture on UK coastlines, beach huts have a long history, evolving from simple functional bathing boxes introduced to preserve Victorian modesty, to now – in some cases - manifesting into cosy and even luxury coastline retreats. Earlier this month, a 12ft x 10ft wooden beach hut in Dorset sold for a record breaking £330,000 – more than the average cost of a five- bedroom home in Hull.

Over the course of the Coronavirus lockdown, owners were unable to visit and enjoy their much-loved havens. But now, in most seaside resorts in the UK, they’re back in action and being appreciated more than ever – as families opt for staycations rather than going abroad, falling back in love with the country’s stunning countryside and coastlines.

The new Ryan’s competition, which is open now and runs until September 30, will celebrate best beach hut uses, however small or grand they might be, exploring beach hut owners’ stories – from restoration projects and storm damage come-backs through to bringing family together, creating a sanctuary for recovering from illness or escaping life's daily stresses, and even raising money for charity or realising a life-long dream.

Entry is free, quick and simple, with owners of beach huts from anywhere in the UK encouraged to complete a 200-word summary explaining why their beach hut is best, as well as up to four supporting pictures.

Winners will be announced on October 19, with a first prize of £300 plus one year’s free insurance and a luxury hamper, as well as a winner’s plaque. Runners up will also be celebrated, with second prize of £200 plus plaque and a third prize of £100 plus plaque.

Strong entries 

Tracy Healey at Ryan’s Insurance, commented: “It was always our intention to launch our competition this year but, with the Coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, our plans had to be put on hold. It’s great to be able to launch now. We appreciate that not everyone has been able to return to their huts, and we’re hoping that you will all be able to enjoy them soon. If that’s not the case, though, it’s fine to send pictures taken prior to lockdown, too.

“So far, we’ve had entries from beach hut owners in seaside towns across the UK and we’re looking forward to receiving many more.”

Vicky added: “I’m so incredibly excited to see all of the wonderful stories coming out of Ryan’s Beach Hut of the Year.

“Since we started Millie’s Beach Huts over five years ago, we’ve seen so many families enjoying their time in our huts, and we’ve spoken to many beach hut owners about their own experiences. Everyone’s story is different and it’s going to be fascinating and, I should imagine, at times a little emotional, to judge.

The Ryan’s Beach Hut of the Year 2020 competition, including the entry form, all details and terms and conditions, can be found here.

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