5 August 2019

An Air Engineering Training Specialist from HMS Sultan has become one of the latest contestants to appear on BBC One’s Bargain Hunt.

Lieutenant Commander Sam Balmond and his father Stephen recently joined in the fun, as the appropriately nautical blue team, when the show visited a fair at Gloucester Antiques Centre and an auction at the Wessex Auction Rooms, in Chippenham.

The team were pitched up against a red team of fellow amateur collectors and given just one hour to purchase three items at the fair to take to auction, with the assistance of a mystery expert advisor. In addition, with a budget of just £300, the teams needed to ensure that there was some ‘left over lolly’ to hand over to their expert, so that they too could pick a bonus item to boost any money raised.

If the teams managed to make a profit from their investment, then they would get to keep it. With Sam a proud member of the Naval Service and his father a veteran of the Falklands Conflict and Royal Navy Supply and Transport Service, the team pledged to donate any profits to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC).

Sworn to secrecy as to whether he turned a profit or not, Sam, who is based within the Defence College of Technical Training’s Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School at HMS Sultan, will be holding a special ‘charity screening’ for colleagues when the show goes to air, to find out.  

Sam said: “Hopefully, when the Show is aired, I will do the Naval Service and the RNRMC proud.

“Appearing on such an iconic television programme was quite surreal. The fleece (which you DO get to keep, by the way) now hangs proudly in the house, making occasional outings to peddle the charity fundraiser.

"We were well suited to the show; since his retirement, Dad has invested in his interest in militaria and I’ve built a broad and deep knowledge of antiques and art in my travels with the Royal Navy, especially British silverware, militaria and oriental art.

"Though you now get ‘big spend’ and randomised challenges on the show, we also set out to acquire at least one piece of nautical paraphernalia as well. There were a few contending pieces, some more savoury than others, but you’ll have to watch the show to find out what we eventually chose!"

You can see how Sam and his father performed by watching Bargain Hunt on BBC One at 12:15 on Monday 12 August, or by catching up with the Show via BBC iPlayer.