Over 1,500 people from around Manchester signed up to take part in our Hidden Gem Treasure Hunt, which has been taking place all week (November 1 to 5).
Each day of the week, we’ve been sending clues in a bid to draw you closer to the prize.
This morning (Friday, November 5) at 9.30am, after four consecutive days of searching, two very hard working treasure hunters found the diamond.
Introducing our winners…Matthew Leigh and Simone Milner
Founder of Stockport gym, SweatShed, Matthew Leigh, 38, and his partner Simone Milner, 27, signed up to the treasure hunt after seeing an article in the Manchester Evening News. Searching high and low – and even digging through dirt – the pair hit the jackpot at around 9.40am on the final day.
Our team spoke to the couple shortly after they found the gem, to find out everything you need to know.
What made you join the treasure hunt?
Simone: “I stumbled across the MEN article about the treasure hunt about a week before it began. I have been dropping hints to Mat now for some time, we’ve been together nearly 5 years, so I checked out the Instagram page and tagged him in one of the posts as a subtle hint!”
How many days did you go out looking?
Simone: “We spent everyday around midday messaging each other about the latest clue. Virtually (thanks to google earth) walking our way around Manchester trying to decipher its location!
“We went into Manchester early Friday morning (I had booked the day off especially) to start our search after we used the four clues to determine it’s potential postcode locations.”
Mat:“Simone has been convinced all week we were going to find it. You had to love her optimism. So much so that she booked the day off work to go hunt.
“Sat at my laptop early this morning working, she returned from the gym and said ‘Right! Get dressed we’re going on a diamond hunt!’
“I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t best pleased being dragged on a wild goose chase before my obligatory second coffee of the morning
“7.30am I found myself roaming city centre streets looking in bins, bushes, digging up soil, looking every bit the homeless person my beard and fashion sense suggested”
Simone: “We looked up a variation of postcodes from M3 3GS and M3 3GY to M3 3GZ. We looked on Atherton Street, Quay Street and Little John Street.
“Mat did most of the hard labour (I was the brains)- he looked in bins, on ledges, under traffic cones, in bushes, under cars.. we quizzed the local builders and we even asked some reception staff in neighbouring buildings if they were hiding it!”
Mat: “We were quizzing security guards, receptionists and builders, not to mention narrowly avoiding a parking ticket. On the final mornign we were cold, hungry, needing a pee and severely caffeine deficient. We were close to calling it a morning and retreating to a cafe whilst awaiting the final clue at 12pm.
Did you see other people hunting for the diamond during the week?
Simone: “There were quite a few people searching Friday morning with us! Men in their business suits on the way to work and women equipped with umbrellas and their morning brew – ready for the hunt!”
Was it in a place you expected? Was it hard to find?
Simone: “After narrowing the streets down to two due to ongoing building works, we presumed it would have to be in the public domain.
People had clearly been hunting in several planters (the ground was full of mud) so Mat had one last ditch attempt and looked behind the ivy within the planters before we admitted defeat and went for a brew (we were frozen and soaking wet by this point!)”
Mat: “For those that went looking, you’ll have seen the planters on Little John Street. I’d already waded through the soil around the base of the ivy plants, however I hadn’t thoroughly scoured the foliage. As I peered behind the trellis of the third planter along BINGO! There it was was!
“I don’t think either of us have ever won anything, certainly not like this. so you can imagine how elated we are to be driving home the winners of the Diamond Treasure Hunt this morning?
“Thanks to all the lovely people who were also out searching, messaging us their best wishes after the discovery.”
What do you plan to do with the diamond?
Simone: “We’re planning to have it set into a ring – to be honest I’ve been hinting but never got as far as styles and settings! Hopefully the team at Steven Stone can help point me in the right direction.”
If you took part in the hunt and are still searching for the perfect diamond, why not take a look at our collection of engagement rings?