House raffle prize swapped from chapel to cash as not enough tickets sold

A former Shrewsbury couple who tried to raffle their luxury home to enable them to move to Yorkshire failed to sell half the tickets they needed.

Martin and Sue Stephenson at the property
Martin and Sue Stephenson at the property

Martin and Sue Stephenson had hoped to sell 330,000 tickets at £3 each for their converted chapel in Snowdonia, which was valued at £695,000.

The deadline has now passed, however, with just 140,965 tickets sold, so the property is still theirs.

With promotion and other costs deducted, it means that a cash prize of £200,000 is being offered instead – the draw will be made on March 1 – and a donation of £42,806 will go to the Alzheimer’s Society.

The Stephensons paid just £27,000 for the former chapel and vestry at Abergynolwyn but converted both buildings into five-star holiday accommodation.

They decided to sell up to be closer to their parents as Martin’s father Ron, who lives near Sheffield, suffers from dementia and is being cared for by his wife, both of them being in their 80s.

They have bought the former village school in Arkengarthdale, the northernmost dale in Yorkshire, but the move has upset local residents as the Upper Dales Community Land Trust had hoped to purchase the property from the Parochial Church Council to provide affordable housing on the site.

Martin, a building surveyor, said they intended making the former school their forever home and would not be raffling it.

“We completely transformed Capel Jerusalem, our previous home in Snowdonia National Park, which also functioned as a holiday let,” he said. “We will treat the school with the same attention to details and respect.”

Meanwhile Capel Jerusalem, which was being offered fully furnished, is back on the open market again.

“If the winner of the £200,000 has set their heart on moving to the property they will have the option of putting their winnings towards buying Capel Jerusalem, Jerusalem Vestry, or both,” said Martin.

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