All eyes are on Bradford on Avon’s swan nest as people in the town place their bets as to when the first cygnet will hatch.

The two swans have nested next to the Town Bridge and are guarding their seven eggs against the rise and fall of the River Avon.

James Sullivan-Tailyour, owner of The Swan Hotel, created the Swan Sweepstakes this year to raise money for the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital.

The hotel ran Swan Watch last year, posting regular updates on the swans on its Facebook site.

Mr Sullivan-Tailyour said: “Lots of people were interested and would come down to see what was going on. The swans seem to catch people’s imagination and people in the town do keep an eye on them.”

Commenting on the launch of the sweepstakes, he said: “We wanted to support a charity in Wiltshire that deals with wildlife, not just domestic animals, and one that took in swans. We wanted people to support and like the concept.”

The Swan Sweepstakes, which has already attracted 55 entrants, has 15-minute slots over a period of seven days, running from May 15-22.

Each slot costs 50p, to go towards the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital, and the winner will receive a £25 meal voucher for the hotel. The person who spots the first hatchling will receive a free drink at the hotel.

Mr Sullivan-Tailyour has been keeping an eye on the swans since the first egg was laid at the end of March. He said: “Three years ago the swan’s nest was in a different place and they got flooded. People got very upset as they watched the eggs float away.

Earlier in the week we were all worried because the swans were completely surrounded by water. People were throwing down bits of branches and twigs and the swans were busy collecting them, building up their nest.

“The river has dropped back down and they are high and dry at the moment, but we are still keeping an eye on them.”For updates on the swans.’ progress, follow The Swan Hotel on Twitter @stayswan or on Facebook at theswanbradford