A man who sought a fresh start after losing his wife to cancer has won a £1 million house after donating £10 in a charity draw.
Civil servant Ian Garrick, 56, from Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire, said he wanted to try his luck after spotting the competition in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust on Facebook, but said he “didn’t think more of it” after entering.
The father-of-three said the mansion prize was the boost he needed to carry on and start afresh after losing his wife, Julie, to breast cancer nearly five years ago.
Describing the hardship he and his sons – James, 30, Callum, 22, and Nathan, 19 – faced following her death, Mr Garrick said: “We’ve basically been in limbo, the house has been falling down around us.
“We’ve just been trying to hold each other together.
“If I’m honest, we needed some sort of boost to carry on.
“My dream when entering the draw was to get away from here for a fresh start and it’s happened.
“I still can’t get my head around it, it’s a new start for me, a new start for my sons, leaving some of the bad memories behind and starting again.
“A new house, new experience and a new train of thought for us all is exactly what we need.”
The 3,000 sq ft property in Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester, boasts four bedrooms, four bathrooms, large living areas and a state-of-the-art kitchen, as well as a standalone home office in the landscaped garden and a hot tub.
Mr Garrick said: “I’m not saying money is a cure for all problems but it will make life’s challenges positive ones.
“Everyone is over the moon for me, I’ve had messages from my close friends and colleagues saying ‘It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy’.
“I feel quite teary about it all, any cancer charity has my full support.”
The competition, run by Los Angeles-based fundraising company Omaze, aims to raise £1 million for Teenage Cancer Trust over the next three years, with another million-pound house draw to be announced in December.
James Oakes, senior vice president of Omaze in the UK, said: “By offering incredible prizes like a million-pound home, we’re giving people the chance to win, while also introducing charities to donors they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
“We’re thrilled that Ian got to help out a charity that means a lot to him and can now enjoy this life-changing prize in time for Christmas.”
Kate Collins, chief executive of Teenage Cancer Trust, said the pandemic has slashed the charity’s income by a third, with a shortfall of around £6 million a year.
She said: “Earlier this year we launched an emergency fundraising appeal so we can protect our ability to provide vital specialist nursing and support across the UK.
“Partnering with Omaze has been a vital way for us to complement that appeal, and we’re delighted by the incredible outcome of the million pound house draw.
“The funds raised will help ensure our nurses and youth workers can continue providing exceptional care to young people with cancer when they need us the most.”