What happened next for the Omaze home winners? MailOnline caught up with the lucky ticket-holders left with the enviable dilemma of whether to sell, move or rent their luxury new pad
- EXCLUSIVE: Mouth-watering luxury homes on offer in Omaze charity draws – but what happens if you win?
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Charity property draws are bigger than ever with mouth-watering houses on offer for the lucky winner.
But what happens when the champagne has been drunk, the media have left and the new owners of a dream house are left with an enviable dilemma – to move, sell or rent out their amazing new mansion?
MailOnline spoke to several recent Omaze winners to see what happened next after they received the prize of a lifetime in the bimonthly draw.
The Omaze prizes, which have grown from properties worth just over £1m to more than £3m, also come with a hefty cheque to help with expenses.
Usually the property is in the UK, though last year a lucky grandfather from Wigan won a luxury £2m holiday villa in Marbella along with £250k in cash for his £25 ticket.
For some, who may be nearing retirement, the choice is a no-brainer and they leap at the chance to move to Devon, Cornwall or the Lake District, to take life easier after putting their feet up.
Others may opt for a compromise and rent the property out for a healthy income, either on long-term lets, or Airbnb.
But not everyone wants the responsibility of having to look after a house which may be hundreds of miles from their present home and are not tempted to break ties with family friends, preferring to sell the property as soon as possible.
James Oakes, Omaze’s chief international officer, says roughly a third of people move into their prize house, with another third selling up and the rest renting.
Omaze began in the US in 2012, founded by Stanford graduates Ryan Cummins and Matthew Pohlson. The pair witnesses a charity auction and watched wealthy bidders pledge huge amounts sit alongside basketball legend Magic Johnson at an LA Lakers game.
Their idea was to organise a prize draw with a much lower entry price to attract hundreds of thousands of entrants and benefit charities at the same time.
Since launching in the UK in November 2020, Omaze has given more than £11m to some of the UK’s biggest charities, including the British Heart Foundation, the NSPCC, Great Ormond Street hospital, Dog’s Trust and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Charities are now so keen be the recipients of the draws and the attendant publicity that they take part in a bidding process to pitch their case.
Here we examine how the huge slice of luck affected the winners in different ways and what they decided to do next…
Ian Garrick – November 2020 – SOLD
Ian Garrick knew immediately that he wanted to sell the Cheshire house he won. It sold for £1.1million in 2021 and gave him the financial freedom to retire and move to a £500,000 detached house ‘with views of the countryside’
Ian’s wife Julie had died from cancer five years earlier and he said the gift gave him and his sons James, 32, Callum 24 and Nathan 21, a boost after years ‘in limbo’
Britain’s first Omaze winner, policeman Ian Garrick, 58, from Mablethorpe, Lincs, didn’t hesitate when he heard he had won a £1million-plus house in Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire.
‘I sold it as soon as I could,’ he told MailOnline. ‘I didn’t want to move across the country and leave friends and family, but it did change my life as it enabled me to take early retirement from the police and lay down solid foundations for financial security for me and my sons.’
Ian’s wife Julie had died from cancer five years earlier and he said the £1million-plus gift gave him and his sons James, 32, Callum 24 and Nathan 21, a boost after years ‘in limbo’.
The four-bedroom house boasted a vaulted ceiling master bedroom with en suite and dressing room, a beautiful garden with a self-contained pod, a large open-plan kitchen and dining area and outside decking with a hot tub, but nervertheless Ian went for the cheque.
‘I’ve got no ties to Cheshire, so it would be a complete upheaval, then I would have the headache of running a house that size in an area like that without a job, which doesn’t really compute financially.
‘It took ages to sell it, as we were still in lockdown,’ he recalled. ‘I had to keep paying the various bills for the Cheshire house and keep an eye on it from a distance, but I never really entertained moving there.’
The property sold for £1.1m in May 2021, giving Ian the freedom to move a short distance inland to a £500,000 detached house ‘with views of the countryside’.
He kept his old terraced house in Mablethorpe and is having it renovated to be rented out, possibly as a holiday let, along with another property he bought.
Catherine Carwardine, April 2022 – RENTED
NHS worker Catherine Carwardine, 60, (right) didn’t give up work as an IT staffer in the health service after winning the stunning Lake District home in 2022
Catherine (centre) and her husband Chris (holding the case), both originally from Wolverhampton – have fostered children at their current five-bedroom house in Telford for the past five years
NHS worker Catherine Carwardine, 60, won a stunning £3m six-bedroom house overlooking Lake Windermere – raising £1m for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
She and her husband Chris, both originally from Wolverhampton – have fostered children at their current five-bedroom house in Telford for the past five years.
She bought her winning entry on Valentine’s Day.
She recalled: ‘As soon as we stepped inside the house it felt like home. We’ve spent most of last summer up here as well as Christmas enjoying it with friends and family.
The beautiful Lake District property is worth £3million and includes a gym, cinema room, sauna, steam room, as well as stunning viewers over the lake
Catherine bought the winning ticket on Valentine’s Day and was convinced her children were playing a practical joke on her when they called to say she’d won
Features in the stunning £3 million property include a beautiful sauna, which is perfect for guests to recline in after a long day walking in the Lake District
The NHS worker was convinced her children were playing an April’s Fool joke when they phoned to tell her she had won the incredible home, which comes fully furnished (pictured, the cinema room)
All of the rooms in the property come with breath-taking views over the countryside, while one of the bedrooms is located in the apex of the house (pictured)
The £3million property comes with a state-of-the-art gym, filled with dumbbells, a Peloton bike and several machines, as well as a steam room
‘When we wake up and look out over the lake, we still pinch ourselves, but we’ve not spotted Bownessie [the lake’s fabled ‘monster’] yet!
‘We absolutely love it up here, the house is perfect for hosting, it has everything we could ever need. It’s perfect in the summer with all the outdoor space and views – and so homely in the winter when we love getting a roaring fire going in the living room and settling in for the night.
‘We let the property out when we’re not using it to generate some extra income, so we can help all our children and pay off the mortgage on our house in Telford faster.
The house has plenty of features making it perfect for entertaining, including a winter terrace, which comes with a fire cub and cosy chairs for a late afternoon lounge
The property’s sun terrace means it’s also the ideal place to stay in the summer as well as the winter, and features a gorgeous view over a lake and surrounding mountains
The house’s dining room has a stunning view from a wall of windows out onto a terrace and beyond, onto the mountains (pictured)
It comes fully equipped with all the features holiday-makers could need – including a sauna, steam room and shower room located by the gym (pictured)
Catherine, who has been working for the NHS for 40 years as a nurse and more recently in an IT role, and Chris, 59, a sales representative for security glazing, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 2022
‘We can even finish that house now thanks to the extra letting money, it’s been a work in progress for years.
‘Even though winning this prize has been so life changing, I love my job so much I’ve kept working.’
Catherine, who has been working for the NHS for 40 years as a nurse and more recently in an IT role, and Chris, 59, a sales representative for security glazing, celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in 2022 and have four children – Gareth, 35, Jessica, 31, Joshua, 22, Charlotte, 19, along with Mya, 19, who lives with them.
Uttam Parmar, August 2022 – KEPT AS HOLIDAY HOME
Uttam Parmar, 58, (left), wife Raki, 53, and son Aaron, 26, in front of the £3million mansion in Cornwall. After winning the dream home in August 2022 for £25, Mr Parmar said: ‘I’ve now won my own piece of paradise’
The dream £3million five-bedroom house, which overlooks the Camel Estuary in Cornwall, was won with a £25 lottery ticket
Uttam Parmar, 58, won a fabulous £3m four-bedroom Cornish house with panoramic views of the Camel Estuary.
The operations manager for an electronics firm had entered every previous Omaze Draw since the fundraising platform launched in the UK in 2020 – and said the Cornwall house was his favourite – declaring that ‘patience really is a virtue’ now he’s won his ‘own piece of paradise’.
Initially, he and his wife Raki, 53, put the house on the market for £4m, saying they were quite content to stay in their large modern red-brick detached home in a quiet close in Leicestershire.
The competition was the ninth run by Omaze, whose Million Pound House Draw has raised millions for good causes, including the British Heart Foundation
The four-bedroom house also includes a stylish private courtyard for entertaining guests. The beach-inspired nook is cosy for chillier nights
The home’s sleek modern design won it an award for best new build in Cornwall in 2020
Six months ago he told MailOnline: ‘It is a fantastic house in a beautiful Cornish location but it comes with a price to keep it running and we can’t afford to. We are selling it and not keeping it as a holiday home.
‘We considered moving there and staying there but with all the costs et cetera it was a lot so we decided to sell it.
‘We have an agent dealing with it and we’re leaving him to sort it out.’
He added: ‘I’m quite a normal guy, there’s some celebrity neighbours but I’m not in that showbiz league.
‘It would be nice to meet a celebrity in the neighbourhood but we’d be a bit out of our depth.’
The property comes with five acres of land included, as well as its own hot tub with panoramic views of the stunning Cornish countryside
Inside, the home also has a large, open-plan kitchen and dining area for entertaining guests, with floor-to-ceiling windows
The house commands views of outstanding natural beauty in the surrounding countryside in Wadebridge. Uttam and his family have had a re-think and decided to hang on to the award-winning house – at least for now
But since then, Uttam and his family have had a re-think and decided to hang on to the award-winning house – at least for now.
He said this week: ‘Since we won the house we’ve spent most of our time in Cornwall, we absolutely love it here. Some family and friends come to stay, it’s such a great space for hosting!
‘We’re not sure what we’ll eventually do with the property – I think we’ll either rent it out or sell it, but it’s been magical spending so much time here. Everyone in Cornwall has been so welcoming, it has really felt like home.’
Grant Carson January 2023 – UNDECIDED
Widower Grant Carson, from Glasgow, said he’s enjoyed stays in the £2.5million Lake District House that he won in January 2023
The breathtaking countryside hideaway (pictured) in the Lake District with panoramic countryside views worth over £2.5million came with a £100,000 cash prize
There is a tree-lined garden with an extended patio area built on original farmyard cobbles with several dining options and seating areas
French doors off one of the cosy well-furnished living rooms offer natural light and easy access to the dining table on the patio, perfect for hosting guests
An ensuite bathroom has twin wash basins, a freestanding tub with shower and accompanying dressing room provides a sumptuous spa-like feel
Widower Grant Carson from Glasgow won a beautiful £2.5m house in the Lake District, along with £100,000 spending money.
Grant, 58, who lost his wife in 2011, had only just retired from his job of 27 years helping disabled people when he learned he’d scooped the spectacular prize.
The 12th Omaze Million-Pound House Draw also raised £850,000 for Dogs Trust.
A large dining room with space for up to ten guests would be perfect for hosting family gatherings and Christmas parties
This beautiful living area in the property is the perfect place to cozy up with a good book and a cup of tea or to host family board game evenings
The main bedroom celebrates the surrounding countryside through the triple aspect windows that provide a cascade of natural light
The widower said he had not yet decided what he would do with the £2.5million Lake District home, despite enjoying some lovely country getaways with family and friends
Grant told MailOnline: ‘Now I’ve had the keys for a while the win has finally sunk in!
‘The house is so lovely, I’ve enjoyed some wonderful stays here with family and friends – it’s the perfect spot for a weekend getaway to the countryside.
‘Long-term, I’ve still not decided what I’m going to do with the house – so I’m just enjoying it at the moment while I make up my mind. Whatever I decide to do, it’s a life changing win for me.’
Marilyn Pratt April 2021 – SOLD
The £3million home was first listed on the market by estate agents Portico in Highbury in 2017. Marilyn Pratt said she would sell the luxury three-bed home when she first won it
The 68-year-old winner outside the three-bedroom luxury London property she scooped up in 2021. She told reporters at the time that she planned to sell
Marilyn Pratt, from Greater London, won the UK’s first ever guaranteed £3m house as part of a fundraising campaign for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Marilyn, 68, won the second Omaze Million Pound House Draw – a stunning town house located in London’s leafy Fulham.
The house featured three bedrooms, an office, a gym and a walled garden.
Brik had listed the property in January 2020 while a second estate agent, Chatterton Rees, listed it in August of the same year. Omaze launched the prize draw for the property in October 2020
The money from the sale of the house has allowed Marilyn to support her daughters and she said she and her husband were also enjoying the extra cash. ‘We’ve been on three wonderful cruises, taken the family on holidays and for fancy lunches at place such as Claridge’s – we just do the kind of lovely things with friends and family you wouldn’t normally be able to do’
Marilyn ‘entered on a whim’ after seeing the house advertised on Facebook, though her husband David, 76 told her it was ‘a waste of a tenner’ (the study in the house)
The £3m property, which features three bedrooms, an office, a gym and a walled garden, had been listed for sale with several estate agents before it was listed by Omaze (the master bedroom)
An enclosed outdoor area. The proceeds from the house sale helped Marilyn’s two daughters pay off their own mortgages and put money aside for a rainy day
She ‘entered on a whim’ after seeing the house advertised on Facebook, though her husband David, 76 told her it was ‘a waste of a tenner’.
Marilyn said: ‘We decided to sell the house so we could release the money to help both our daughters – one of whom bought her first house, the other already owned a house, so used it help pay off the mortgage and keep some for a rainy day.
‘My husband and I kept a third for us to enjoy family holidays, we’ve been on three wonderful cruises, taken the family on holidays and for fancy lunches at place such as Claridge’s – we just do the kind of lovely things with friends and family you wouldn’t normally be able to do.
The high-tech gym, which featured an exercise bike and other expensive equipment. Marilyn said winning the house had been an ‘incredible’ experience
Marilyn and her family said they were delighted that the lottery had raised so much money for the heart charity, British Heart Foundation
The luxury London house featured a modern and minimalist design throughout and featured four bedrooms, a gym, study, well-fitted kitchen and walled private garden
‘It’s been amazing sharing and enjoying the money with those closest to us.
‘Winning the house was just an incredible experience all-round, we tell people that if it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone!
She added: ‘We were thrilled to see Omaze raised another £2million for BHF, the charity which benefited by £1million for when we won our house.’
Kevin Johnson March 2023 – MOVED IN
Construction worker Kevin Johnson won a £3million dream home in Islington in the Omaze Million Pound House Draw. Kevin with his wife Dee with £100,000 cash in front of the house
Construction worker Kevin Johnson, 34, and his wife Dee, 44, were overjoyed to win their £3million dream house, a four-bedroom Victorian property in Islington, north London, only half an hour away from their present home.
The couple have lived in their rented three-bedroom flat in East London since 2011 and share four sons together.
When Omaze first contacted Kevin to tell him he’d scooped a prize, he was on his way home from work and had no idea he’d won the Grand Prize, until the team arrived at his doorstep to reveal the good news.
The £3m home also has open plan living with the kitchen flowing out to an outdoor dining area. The four-bedroom Victorian property in Islington, north London, is only half an hour away from Kevin’s present home
One of the property’s beautiful bathrooms – with stand alone bath and marble walk-in shower – offers rooftop views across London for the owners
The property’s grand lounge with wooden floors, sash windows and marble fireplace looking out over a green garden across the road
The reception room leads directly into a beautifully bright and airy kitchen and dining space – with the bespoke kitchen featuring a marble centre island and marble topped work surfaces – complete with top of the range appliances.
Childcare worker Dee, meanwhile, was on a crowded train and the other commuters who overheard the news of her incredible win burst into spontaneous applause.
Kevin said: ‘We’ve always wanted to own our own house one day, so this really is a dream come true for us – we’ll be moving in as soon as we can. I won’t need to use any of my carpentry skills on the house as it’s absolutely perfect – the kids are going to love it.
‘We’re still pinching ourselves, whatever we decide to do long term, this is going to give us so much security as a family, it’s truly life changing for all of us.’
As well as making Kevin a multi-millionaire – Omaze’s third London House Draw also raised a staggering £2,000,000 for British Heart Foundation (BHF) – the biggest single raise by Omaze to date.
The four bedrooms are arranged over two upper floors, with the main bedroom occupying much of the first floor (pictured), perfect for the family
The landscaped, courtyard rear garden that captures the sun for much of the day, making it a lovely space to eat or host guests
He added: ‘My wife’s grandma had heart complications in later life, so we’re really pleased that the draw raised £2million for the British Heart Foundation.’
The heart of the house is the expansive, open living space arranged over the entire ground floor, including a reception room featuring oak flooring, a wealth of period features, such as deep set ceiling cornices and cast iron radiators.
A purpose-built garden studio sits against the far wall and comes complete with a fully fitted kitchen and separate WC, providing a useful office space that could also be used as further guest accommodation if required.
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