23-year-old wins £500,000 farmhouse with £2 prize draw ticket

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A 23-year-old woman has won a farmhouse worth more than £500,000 after it was sold using an online prize draw with tickets priced at just £2 each.

Jemma Nicklin will be the new owner of Shrubbery Farmhouse in Longnor, near Shrewsbury, after she bought two entries in the competition she spotted on Facebook.

The four-bedroom house, parts of which are around 300 years old, was sold by Michael Chatha through the draw after it failed to sell on the conventional property market.

Ms Nicklin, an admin assistant at community transport company Ring And Ride, found out she had won the house valued at £545,000 on Friday.

300-year-old farmhouse won in raffle
Jemma Nicklin got a tour from current owner Michael Chatha during her first visit to Shrubbery Farm (Jacob King/PA)

“I was looking through the photos and I said to my mum ‘Do you think I should have a go?’ and she said ‘Why not? You’ve got to be in it to win it’.

“I thought it looked so lovely. I’ve always loved the countryside, me and my family would go for walks in the countryside quite often. It’s got so much character.”

The farmhouse, which also features three bathrooms and a self-contained annexe, is nearly 40 miles away from her family home in Bilston, Wolverhampton.

300-year-old farmhouse won in raffle
Jemma Nicklin said it could take years to get used to her life-changing win (Jacob King/PA)

“I think it’s going to take years to get used to, it’s just one of those things you never expect to happen,” she said. “My whole family are still in shock.

“It has just a crazy, crazy impact, one I could never have imagined. It’s life-changing.”

Ms Nicklin said she was very grateful for Mr Chatha’s decision to put the house up for the competition.

She added: “There’s just never going to be enough words to thank him, he has changed my life. I’ll definitely invite him back around, the doors are always open for him.”

300-year-old farmhouse won in raffle
Jemma Nicklin, her father, Carl Nicklin, her mother, Alison Nicklin, and her partner, Kieran Parker, all took the tour of the farmhouse (Jacob King/PA)

As it had been on the market with two different estate agents for eight months but attracted no offers, the 54-year-old decided to start a website and launch the competition.

He told PA: “The whole competition went absolutely mad. The house had been on the market for £545,000 and we brought in £550,000 in the first seven days.

“We’ve given this house a lot of love over the last 17 years and it’s been a superb family home.

“We hoped the winner would be someone who was going to give it a lot of love and, having met Jemma and her lovely family, they are wonderful people and we’re so thrilled, really from the heart, that such lovely people have won the property.”

Mr Chatha added that all legal fees and stamp duty will be paid for Ms Nicklin using the money, some of which will also be used to finish minor repairs and upkeep of the house.

Donations will be made to the Hope House children’s hospice, as well as helping to fund substance and gambling addiction services run by Mr Chatha.

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