Woman, 23, wins £500,000 Shropshire country farmhouse in raffle
A 23-year-old woman got the shock of her life when she was announced as the winner of a raffle to win a £500,000 Shropshire farmhouse.
Jemma Nicklin, from Bilston, Wolverhampton, was at work when she received the call from homeowner Michael Chatha to let her know the good news.
It means she will soon be handed the keys to Shrubbery Farmhouse in Longnor, near Shrewsbury, after her £2 entry was chosen at random.
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Jemma, an admin assistant at charity Ring and Ride, still lives with her parents and never dreamed she would be taking such an incredible first step onto the property ladder.
All costs are covered in the prize, meaning she will not even have to pay stamp duty or legal fees to have the 300-year-old four-bedroom detached property transferred into her name.
Jemma said: “It’s insane - I still can’t get my head around it.
“My parents had entered themselves and and told me about it. I had seen it on Facebook and thought I might as well enter.
“I bought two tickets, so it has only cost me £4.
“I have got no idea what I’m going to do with it yet, I can’t even process the fact that I’ve won. I think that’s going to take a while.”
The raffle raised £680,000 after a total of 340,000 tickets were snapped up.
Mr Chatha believes it is only the second time a house raffle in the UK has actually raised enough money for the house to be given away.
Not wanting to make more than the house’s valuation of £545,000, any cash left over after paying the legal fees, stamp duty and some minor work to the house will go to charity. A donation will be made to Hope House, while some will also go towards supporting local addiction services.
Jemma’s winning number was selected using an online random number generator in the presence of the Shropshire Star, TV cameras and representatives from Clarkes Solicitors of Telford and Shrewsbury, which will be handling the exchange.
Popping open a bottle of champagne, Mr Chatha said: “It’s weird - I feel like I have won.
“It’s fantastic that Jemma has won. This is going to change her life.
“It’s not gone to a London property developer who is going to make money out of it.”
After struggling to sell their house in the conventional way, Michael and his wife Linda said from the start that they hoped their unusual approach would change the life of someone who may never have otherwise got onto the property ladder.
They have invited Jemma and her family to come to see the house this weekend.
The farmhouse itself has three bedrooms, one en-suite, three reception rooms, and is set in the heart of the countryside with private gardens. There is also a self-contained one-bedroom annex with its own entrance.
There was also a second winner in the contest, as a £5,000 prize was offered to the person who generated the most extra ticket sales by sharing the link to the competition website on social media.
The winner of that prize was Steven Galbraith, from Telford.