Fundraising company Omaze has announced that it has raised £3,500,000 in its Somerset house draw - which has been won by a man who paid just £10 to enter.
The latest Omaze Million Pound House Draw, for a £3,250,000 property eight miles from Bath, has been won by a father from Luton.
Michael Maher is now the owner of the countryside retreat, complete with a tennis court and picturesque gardens.
The property comes mortgage free, with all stamp duty and legal fees covered, and the option to live in the house, rent it out for an estimated £6,000 to £8,000 per month, or sell it to become a cash multi-millionaire.
The house draw was held in partnership with the RSPCA, and entries into the draw helped to raise £3,500,000 for the charity - the highest amount Omaze has raised yet.
The RSPCA reports that animal neglect and abandonment calls to the charity are now at a three-year high, and many RSPCA centres are already full of unwanted pets.
The money raised through the house draw will enable the RSPCA to continue its work of rescuing, rehabilitating, rehoming and releasing animals in need of care.
Chris Sherwood, RSPCA chief executive, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the Omaze house draw has raised an incredible £3,5000,000 for the RSPCA in just six weeks.
“As we enter our 200th year, this will help our frontline teams rescue animals at a time when the charity has seen abandonment and neglect reports sadly reach a three-year high.
“With the cost-of-living crisis taking a heavy toll on animals, we’re incredibly grateful to have partnered with Omaze for a second time and we’d like to thank everyone who entered the draw and helped to raise funds for our vital animal welfare work.
“We’d also like to wish Michael a huge congratulations on being the winner of this stunning house in Somerset, and to thank all of those who entered the prize draw for their support for animal welfare!”
Michael and his wife Amanda have lived in a rented four-bedroom house for the past eight years, with their two teenage children and a cocker spaniel.
He bought the winning entry for just £10, and initially thought his win was unlikely to be the top prize.
Michael said: “I had a call from Omaze saying I'd won a prize - obviously I was intrigued but my daughter was somewhat sceptical and told me not to get too excited as I've probably only won a toaster.
“Luckily for me it turned out to be a £3,000,000 house - that also happens to come with a toaster!
“Going from a rented house in Luton to owning a six-bedroom house in the countryside is just mind blowing.
“This house is truly spectacular in real life, the open plan kitchen and living area is spot on for us - and the garden is just incredible, it's so big we’ll have to put a bell on our dog otherwise we might lose him!”
“I subscribed to Omaze because it's a great way to support different charities month in, month out.
“Also, the chance to win a £3,000,000 house for a tenner isn’t bad either. We’ve owned property in the past but have been renting for the last eight years - and obviously we’ve been working towards owning our own property again - this win means that dream has now come true, and our family’s future is secure.
“We’re not sure what we’re going to do long term yet - we’ll definitely spend some time here and enjoy it as a family - whatever we decide, it’s going to change all our lives for the better.”
James Oakes from Omaze, added: “Everyone at Omaze is delighted that Michael and his family have won this beautiful home in Somerset, whilst also contributing to the £3,500,000 raised for the RSPCA - our biggest ever raise for a charity partner.
“Omaze gives people the chance to win amazing houses, like this spectacular property in Somerset, whilst also introducing charities to vast new audiences that would otherwise be out of reach – it’s a real win-win for both charities and entrants. We’re incredibly proud that the Omaze community has raised more than £28,000,000 for good causes across the UK.”
Entries for the next house draw, the Omaze Million Pound House Superdraw, Mallorca, are available now on Omaze's website, with online entries closing on Sunday January 28 2024.