Pints and portfolios in village pub

The Independent Bulls and Bears Competition: This month's winner in our investment club competition picked shares down the local

This month's £1,000 winners of The Independent's Bulls & Bears Investment Club Competition is the Ranskill Investment Club from Nottingham - all friends and neighbours.

This month's £1,000 winners of The Independent's Bulls & Bears Investment Club Competition is the Ranskill Investment Club from Nottingham - all friends and neighbours.

The club successfully beat other entrants by picking two shares in the real-estate sector: the bull share that rose the furthest and the bear that fell the most, between 15 and 29 September. The club's choices, worked out over a few pints at the local village pub, were Chelsfield, which rose by 6.94 per cent, and Freeport Leisure, which fell by 6.55 per cent.

Jane Mchale, a member, explained that the strategy was to look at price-to-earnings ratios and company reports, as well as reading newspapers and financial magazines. "We saw that Chelsfield had a sizeable investment from fund managers, which made it a good candidate for potential growth. Freeport also had a good track record but we saw that its price has fluctuated from people taking profit. We thought that would happen again," Ms Mchale said.

The strategy is similar to what the club's 20 members follow for their own portfolio, now worth £6,224, on an investment of £5,000. Launched 18 months ago, some of its members work in banking, while others work in areas unrelated to finance. Ms Mchale is a retired nursing sister, for instance. She admitted finance is not the only item on the agenda: "It is a nice way to meet people. For about half of the time, we talk about shares and for the rest we just chat."

* Enter our October Bulls and Bears competition - and win £1,000. The competition is run in association with ProShare, the investors organisation, and Charles Schwab, the stockbroker.

Each month we give away a £1,000 cash prize to the investment club that nominates the best-performing share in percentage terms ("the Bull") and the worst performer ("the Bear") in a particular stock market sector. The stocks will be drawn from the FTSE All Share Index. Entry is free to all clubs which are members of ProShare Investment Clubs for at least two months.

This month we have chosen the food retail sector, which you will find listed on the page headed "Shares" in the main section of today's Independent.

From Food Retail, choose the share whose price you think will go up by the greatest percentage between close of business on Friday, 13 October and the close of business on Friday, 31 October. You must also pick the share you consider will fall by the greatest percentage in the same period. Shares can be chosen only from those listed in this sector and published in today's Independent.

The club with the highest combined figure when their winner and loser percentages are added will receive a cheque for £1,000. In the event of a tie, the club judged to have offered the best reason for its riser choice will be given the prize. Judging will be by John Willcock, personal finance editor, and his decision will be final. Closing date for entries into this month's competition is Friday, 13 October. Your entry should include: the name of your club; the name of both the "Bull" and the "Bear"; the reason for choosing the biggest riser (in no more than 25 words).

Don't forget your name and address, daytime and evening phone numbers. All entries must be received by e-mail, post or fax at ProShare's offices before 5pm on that day. Entries received after that time will be invalid. Send your entries by e-mail to; by fax to 020 72201731; or on a postcard to ProShare, Centurion House, 24 Monument Street, London EC3R 8AQ.

For more information, phone ProShare on 0870 2645484 or or Charles Schwab on 0870 601888