Dad who spent £20 on ticket now owns £2.5m forest house

From left, Lucy, Jules, Chris and Esmé Milnes
-Credit: (Image: Mark Field Photography/Omaze)

A lucky father from Pudsey, Yorkshire, has won the keys to a stunning five-bedroom house in Dorset worth £2,500,000 - along with £100,000 in cash - as part of a prize draw that raised £3,150,000 for BBC Children in Need - the home of Pudsey Bear. Chris Milnes, 60, has won the latest Omaze Million Pound House Draw in Dorset and is now the proud owner of a contemporary, three-storey house with rainforest-inspired gardens.

Chris hadn’t told his family he’d entered the draw - leaving his wife and children utterly “speechless” when they found out about his huge windfall. The amazing property comes mortgage-free, with all stamp duty and legal fees covered.

Chris has also been given a whopping £100,000 in cash to help him settle in and can decide to either live in the house, rent it out for a supplementary income or sell it whenever he wishes to become a cash multi-millionaire. Chris, who spent much of his childhood living in a council flat in Leeds, said he planned to sell up and cash in to become a multi-millionaire, so he can “give my children the start in life I never had” - by getting them all on the property ladder - but not before he and the family have enjoyed a big holiday at the house first.

If Chris did decide to rent it out, local estate agents estimate that the property could achieve a long-term rental value between £5,000 and £6,000 per month. Chris, who bought his £2,500,000 winning entry for just £20, has worked as a salesman for the past 30 years.

His wife of 23 years, Jules, 56, has been at the same company for 25 years - having worked her way up from an administrator to become a commercial operations manager. The couple have lived in their rented house in Pudsey for seven years - the very town that Pudsey Bear, the face of Omaze’s charity partner BBC Children in Need, is named after.

Chris and Jules have three children between them. Chris has two children from a previous marriage, son Ollie, 29, who lives in Australia and daughter Lucy, 28, as well as their daughter Esmé, 23.

Chris said: “When I got the call from Omaze to say I’d won something I thought 'wow, a couple of grand would go down a treat at the minute' - I never imagined that I might’ve won a house worth more than a couple of million, it's crazy! It was a massive surprise to me, but an even bigger one for my wife - as she had no idea I’d even entered! To say she was shocked is a bit of an understatement, she was utterly speechless.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever own a multi-million-pound house - I spent much of my childhood living in a council flat in Leeds - things like this don’t happen to people like me! This house is absolutely gorgeous - it’s like something out of Grand Designs - I keep expecting Kevin McCloud to pop his head around the corner and say hello.

“We currently live in a rented house - and only last week we were discussing having to downsize to help keep our living costs down - but now everything has changed. The house in Dorset is obviously unbelievable - and we’ve also bagged £100,000 as part of the win, which would easily cover the running costs for this place for almost 10 years, so we could stay here if we wanted to - but we’re going to sell up and cash in to release the huge sum of money from a sale - but we’ll all enjoy a big family holiday and party here first, that's for sure!

“Winning this house has changed all our family’s lives forever - not only will we be able to afford to buy a dream new house for us - but we can also get all our children on the property ladder now - it means so much to be able to give them the start we never had. I’m a proud Yorkshireman and love where we live, so we’ll be buying somewhere nearby, it’s so exciting - I play a lot of tennis so top of my list is having my own tennis court in the back garden!

The forest home
The forest home -Credit:Omaze

“My son lives in Australia and we’ve only seen him once in the past six years - now we can go and see him whenever we want and fly them all over in style too - it’s just bonkers! We’ve worked hard all our lives - and we’ve had to manage some challenging times over the years - but the future has never looked brighter after this win.

“I’m not going to retire immediately - when I emailed my boss to tell him the news - he called me straightaway to double check I was staying on to finish our latest project - I think he was just as relieved as he was very happy for me. As soon as I finish the project I’m currently working on, I’ll finally retire - then I’ll have plenty of time to work on my backhand.

“I actually had to miss an important tennis match to come and see the house - but Omaze has served an ace with this place. My wife has worked her way up through the same company over the past 25 years and loves her job so will keep working. So for now, we’ll still get up and go to work in the morning, we’ll just be coming home to a much nicer house.

“It’s such a lovely coincidence that we live in Pudsey and the Omaze Draw has raised so much money for BBC Children in Need, with the face of the charity, Pudsey Bear, being named after the town. We always give what we can to charity - that’s why I’ve been entering Omaze Draws as even if I hadn’t have won - I’ve still contributed towards a very worthy cause.”

Inside the latest Omaze winner's new house

Chris’s new house has been contextually designed with striking elevations that incorporate the landscaped gardens and woodland backdrop. The spectacular house is built using natural wood panels, tiled accents and black powder-coated aluminium framed windows with large bi-fold doors.

The design of the property uses full-height glazing to offer incredible views of the lush green gardens behind, while filling the house with natural light and allowing the wooded environment outside to provide a natural tapestry throughout the house. The impressive 4,294 sq ft new-build property celebrates nature with a sun terrace and wrap-around decking that will invite Chris and his family to embrace the outdoors.

The luxurious house is arranged on three levels and has state-of-the-art finishes with smart tech throughout. It has distinct areas for everyday family life as well as entertaining guests.

The magnificent open-plan living room and kitchen has bifold glass walls on two sides and is separated from the formal dining room by a feature fireplace wall. The kitchen is superbly equipped with a large central island with banquette seating and breakfast table facing out over the garden.

Inside the house
Inside the house -Credit:Omaze

There are stylish veined Dekton surfaces and integrated appliances including an induction hob with downdraught extractor, twin ovens, microwave, drawer dishwasher, larder fridge, wine fridge, freezer and a boiling water tap. A generous hardwood deck opens into the kitchen and family room, providing the perfect space for entertaining alfresco. The elegant drawing room has doors to terraces at both the front and rear of the house.

Also on this floor is an en suite guest bedroom with shower room. A hardwood staircase with glass balustrade leads to a galleried landing sitting area, and a mirrored walkway gives access via a timber footbridge that seamlessly connects the interior and exterior spaces. The garden area also has a hot tub and outdoor shower.

Chris’s new beautifully proportioned main bedroom suite has a central headboard, bedside tables, dressing table, a fully fitted dressing room and a spa-like bathroom with a freestanding bath. There are three further bedroom suites, each with built-in furniture and colour-themed shower rooms, as well as a cinema room.

As well as making Chris a multi-millionaire, the Omaze Million Pound House Draw, Dorset, raised £3,150,000 for BBC Children in Need. BBC Children in Need fund grassroots organisations and projects across the UK, with the aim of providing the vital positive relationships children need, to help them navigate challenges in their lives.

It funds thousands of local charities and project workers who support, inspire and champion children and young people to make sure that every child has the childhood they deserve and the support they need to thrive. The money raised from the partnership with Omaze will support BBC Children in Need to fund more vital youth work projects in communities across the UK, to provide young people living in tough conditions with a space where they feel safe.

One of the bedrooms
One of the bedrooms -Credit:Omaze

Simon Antrobus, BBC Children in Need CEO, said “We’re absolutely blown away that the Omaze House Draw has raised an incredible £3,150,000 for BBC Children in Need, in just six weeks! We would like to thank everyone who entered the draw, and in doing so, supported crucial youth work. Youth work is transformational and has a profound impact on young people's lives. With the funds raised, we'll be able to help give young people somewhere safe to go and enable them to build positive relationships with trusted adults – like youth workers – who help them to navigate the challenges that they are facing and encourage them to thrive."

James Oakes, chief international officer at Omaze, said: “Everyone at Omaze is thrilled that Chris has won this stunning house in Dorset, whilst also contributing to the £3,150,000 raised for the iconic BBC Children in Need. It's going to make a huge difference to his entire family which is just wonderful.

“Omaze gives people the chance to win amazing houses, like this beautiful house in Dorset, whilst also introducing charities to vast new audiences that they wouldn't otherwise reach – it’s a real win-win for both charities and entrants. We’re incredibly proud that the Omaze Community has now raised over £43 million for good causes across the UK.”

How to enter the next Omaze draw

Draw entries for the Omaze Million Pound House Draw, Surrey, are available now at The draw closes on Sunday, June 30, for online entries and Tuesday, July 2, 2024, for postal entries.

Entrants can also choose to subscribe to Omaze to be automatically entered into every Grand Prize and Early Bird Prize, each month. Omaze Subscribers receive double the amount of entries compared to non-subscribers and can cancel their subscription at any time.

When Omaze has two draws running simultaneously, subscribers are entered into both, with a £10 subscription providing 30 entries into both house draws - meaning 60 entries in total for just £10. For full terms and conditions, see No purchase is necessary to enter. Over 18s and UK residents only.