Brain of MENSA, Home Page

Q: Who is this famous face?

A: The new Brain of Mensa

A familiar face has become the new Brain of Mensa. Who Wants to be a Millionaire winner David Edwards took this year's title - 20 years after winning the Mensa Superbrain of Britain competition. One of the most famous quiz-winners in the country, David had to draw on every bit of his phenomenal general knowledge to triumph in the Birmingham final.

He won Mensa's ultimate quiz title by a single point - just pipping fellow former Mastermind champion Gavin Fuller.

Last year Magnus Magnusson was reading the questions. This year the task fell to quizmaster and competition organiser Brian Dougherty, ably assisted by Glenys Hopkins who kept the scores.

The audience was entranced by what was an intriguing battle of wits. In fourth place was Chris Gonet, while third was first-time entrant Les Hurst of Derby Both these players have reached Radio 4's Brain of Britain semi-finals, which gives you an idea of the strength in depth of the Brain of Mensa contest.

"I knew the track record of the other people taking part in the competition, and am very proud and quite overwhelmed to win," said the modest former schoolteacher.

"Before the last round there were three of us with just two points difference between us. I had a tricky question about a novel I hadn't heard of and made a very fortuitous stab in the dark. Then, on the very last question, Gavin picked an answer I would have gone for if the question had come to me and he was wrong. So I went for the answer I thought was too obvious and it turned out to be correct!"

David made his way through regional heats to the final at Birmingham's Holiday Inn, held as part of Mensa's annual games weekend.

Surprisingly, David says he hasn't taken part in that many quizzes "but the ones I have done have been quite high profile, so they all stand out for me. I've only entered the ones I really wanted to take part in. I've found them to be a positive experience - it's not just about the financial gain."

Though, obviously, the money has been a huge benefit. He admits he entered Millionaire with the aim of winning enough to enable him to retire. "It wasn't the money itself," he explains. "It would be wrong to say that I thought the money wasn't important. But what the money did was to give me time. In the end it is time that is important.

"The money meant that I could have time to do the things I wanted to do. It enabled me to stand back from jobs which had taken up time that I wanted to use for other things. The money gave me the time and freedom to do what I wanted to do."

And 'what he wanted to do' was quite an exhaustive list. Both David and his wife Viv have very varied interests. David's first ambition was to learn Welsh, as he grew up in Wales.

That has had to take a back seat to another language - French. David and Viv are having a house built in France and he is keen to learn the language to integrate with the local community. "So learning French is a little more urgent," he said.

He has also been tracing his family tree, playing squash and has more time for walking.

'All of these are pretty time-consuming things which I couldn't do that easily before the Millionaire win," he says. "Now I have the time to do them."

He has retired from teaching and has a new career compiling crosswords and quizzes. "I am writing crosswords for a couple of publications and enjoy the creative process. You start and don't know exactly where it will lead, each decision can take you in a different direction," he says."I enjoy keeping myself occupied," he adds with wonderful understatement.