Importance of the 833 lottery


Friends of the Nature Reserve hold a members’ open morning once a month and it is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people who share a common interest, the nature reserve at Rye Harbour. It is a chance to make new friends and to engage with people on the walks that they organise. Each month a walk is arranged that invites those who attend to discover different aspects of the reserve.

Cliff Dean, chair of the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve summed up this latest walk for the friends: “This morning’s walk began in the relative cool at 8:30am but the temperature soon climbed under a pure blue sky. Much of the beach reserve is parched but towards midday a big tide began to roar through the culverts to refresh the dry mud of the creeks.

“Autumn migrants are passing through; we saw swallows and black-tailed godwits overhead while in the scrub alongside the salt pool we found lots of small birds which conveniently perch up on the fence. Besides birds which could have been local, such as house sparrow, linnet, pied wagtail and whitethroat there were others which had arrived from further afield: stonechat, wheatear, willow warbler & yellow wagtail. The background sound was the screeching of common terns, which are just feeding the last of their nestlings.

“The real novelty, however, were the dozens of big, stripy wasp spiders picked out by our expert, sharp-eyed younger members. This amazing invertebrate is a twentieth century coloniser of England, the country’s first specimen having been recognised at Rye exactly 100 years ago!”

Another aspect of these mornings is to select the winners of the 833 club. The organisers of the lottery explained why it had come about and the great work that it does.

This licensed lottery was set up in 2020 by the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve to raise money for the discovery centre and its work on the reserve. It is called the 833 Lottery because that is the maximum number of tickets that can be included in the draw. You can buy up to five tickets – each one costs £24 and lasts for a year, which means twelve draws. Tickets are open for all to buy, not just members of the friends.

Since the start of the lottery, we have given out £4,000 in prizes and raised just under £6,000 for the discovery centre. 60% of money raised is used to support the centre. We have been able to buy several items so far, including kitchen equipment and two defibrillators. One is in a cabinet outside the centre, which is available at all times to passers-by as well as discovery centre users, and a second portable one which can be taken out onto the reserve. Look out for our special stickers on the equipment we have bought.

Although the building has been finished, there will always be a need for expenditure in the discovery centre and future support for educational, history, wildlife and craft activities based there. The 833 Lottery will continue to be a fun and easy way to provide funds for this on behalf of the friends. The monthly draw is made in the centre at 11am on the second Saturday of each month as part of our friends’ open days. There are three winners each month and the average first prize is around £80.

Last Saturday I was asked to press the start button for the draw. Contact the lottery direct by email at or you can join at the discovery centre or through the website

Image Credits: Martin Bruce , Cliff Dean .

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