Devon Property Win a House Competition Sells Out!

Posted on: September 16th, 2008 by Jason 10 Comments

Finally, after a last minute hiccup, the Devon Retreat win a house competition has reached the 46000 tickets sold mark and someone will win the house (or estate). Having seen a fair number of these competitions fail to even get close to the required number of tickets required to be sold to giveaway a house, it’s actually quite nice to see one reach a successful conclusion. The success of this competition no doubt can be attributed to the prize on offer.

The winner will become the owner of a five bedroom house, two bedroom timber lodges, 11.5 acres of woodland and 2 acres of coarse fishing lakes! Not a bad return for a £25 ticket.

As well as the prize on offer, the competition has been afforded plenty of media publicity. An appearance on The BBC back in August (Win a Devon Estate) increased the sales of tickets and as word spread that for £25 you could win the house or what would have been a decent cash prize had all the tickets not be sold then interest continued to build.

Finally as the magical 46000 came into view, a frenzy to pick up the remaining tickets meant that The Wilshaws took the step to suspend the competition whilst a few bugs were ironed out.

So what happens now?

At the moment the draw for the Oldborough Estate property is scheduled for December 7th. That may or may not be brought forward, but an announcement will be made on the official website. If you’ve bought a ticket good luck – we’ll be waiting for news of the winner with interest!

Now that the ceiling has finally been broken with “win a house” competitions – and coupled with the current economic crisis in the housing market – we expect to see more competitions start to appear. For example Jacks Car Parts are offering a 3 bedroom home in Rochester. They’ve sold 7 tickets so far – just 9993 to go!

Unfortunately we don’t expect other “win a home” competitions to be as successful as Win a Devon Property with Fishing! The prize winner of the competition will have a potentially life changing prize that captures the imagination. Couple that with a good publicity, a decent website and a little bit of luck and there’s the formula for a successful campaign.

Replicating those conditions is the key for future successes.

Join The Conversation

  • Chrysoprase

    It is true to say that the contest has been brilliantly presented. Based mainly on a good website, it introduced the couple as genuine, worthy of respect and likeable. (Wilshaw is an unusual name but is clearly old English and, for me, inspired trust.)
    The fact that the couple had hosted paying guests at the Fishing Retreat for a dozen years meant that they were interested in people and were hospitable. So buying a ticket felt like enjoying the welcome offered by the Wilshaws at Oldborough – a welcome that will soon be available no longer…

    Second, the Property with the Fishing Lake was extremely interesting – even if you have no great interest in angling! (Actually, I do, as I used to fish in Devon as a boy). So it fired the imagination.

    Third, the story presented was honest and trustworthy. You felt that the Wilshaws had given a great deal of thought to the contest and were taking all the risk. So the £25 entry ticket was, for the contestant, nothing more than a bet on a horse at the racetrack. (The only reason I never bet is that I don’t understand racing. But this was easy.)

    Fourth, the odds of 46,000 to one must have struck most people as pretty good!

    The winner is supposed to be announced in early December. But because of the success of the publicity, all 46,000 tickets have been taken up way ahead of time. It will be interesting to see if the bring forward the date of announcing a winner. They and their advisers – including the lawyers – have a lot of thinking to do in the days ahead.

    I shall, of course, be disappointed when I don’t win the house. But I have enjoyed feeling involved in the story.

    ‘Good luck to Mr and Mrs Wilshaw’ is the thought that comes to mind. It looks like they have pulled it off. 🙂

  • Redinhorne

    I too wish good luck to the Wilshaws, and the winner.

    But I do have one thought – will this spawn ‘fake’ competitions of this type? With con artists always on the lookout for new ideas, will this be one of them? I sincerely hope not, but I think we all need to be careful.

  • madmadscorpioman

    Hi to all, it is great that finally a house competition has completed, good luck to the owners whatever they do next. It is also very nice to see our own house competition mentioned above as Jacks Car Parts which is my own website. Our names are Jack and Jan hope and this is totally genuine, we are completely approachable either by phone or email or if you are local come and knock on our door for a chat and a cup of tea. The competition has started slowly but hopefully will build as more and more people from sites like this one become more interested. Fingers crossed and hopefully at some time in the near future i will be handing over my keys to one lucky winner, all the best Jack and Jan Hope.

  • madmadscorpioman

    Fantastic, our site as mentioned above jacks car parts has now had a large increase in hits directly from loquax to view our house competition, our thanks go to the owners and users of this site, our last sale even came from here, thanks once again Jack and Jan Hope

  • fortunehunter

    Taken from Devon Retreat website

    We are pleased to announce that the draw will take place on the 16th October.
    This will bring the scheduled draw date forward by around 8 weeks. The venue is still to be arranged with all parties concerned. Please keep watching for announcements which will include further details of the draw.

  • Chrysoprase

    There has been an announcement by the organizers of this Draw. It will now take place on 16 October. The venue and details have yet to be announced.

    As expected, they have brought forward the schedule by about two months – because all tickets have been sold. (It was originally intended to hold the Draw in early December.)

    So, whoever is going to win the Devon property with fishing lakes – they’ll know pretty soon!

  • madmadscorpioman

    Free entries to win my house jacks car parts shown above , entries number 00021, 00121, 00222, 00323, 00411, 00535, 00656, 00762, 00836, 00941, 01001 will be free. If you are the person who buys any of these entry numbers your money will be refunded by the same means as the payment recieved giving you a free entry. Plus once we reach the 1000th entry i will anounce another 10 free entries and again at 2000, 3000 and so on all the way to the finish, the christian name and location will be shown for all to see, to make this fair i will only update every couple of days to make it harder to jump in at that given point, good luck Jack and Jan Hope

  • Consultantwan

    More news:

    Taken from their My Space Blog……………………………………….

    We have booked the services of a ‘Notary’ (which is an independant solicitor who specialises as a witness to various business transactions), and who will provide certified documentation that the draw was carried out in a fair and appropriate way.

    The draw will take place at his offices in London around mid morning on the 16th, then we will begin the process of making the calls/writing the emails etc, to track down and verify the lucky winner.

    The guys from the BBC will be there to film the draw as a conclusion to the behind the scenes section of the documentary they are putting together, to be shown sometime in November (we will let you know that date here, if you are interested in watching).

    We have chosen an entrant to be there too, as a representative of all other entrants. We unfortunately cannot invite any others to attend, for practical reasons more than anything. The Notary’s office will be bursting at the seams with the current invited guests!


    Its getting exciting now. I know I have set myself, and my family, up for a HUGE disappointment when we don’t win but I have really enjoyed just having the dream for the last few months, I’m almost disappointed it is almost over. Having that dream has lightened up some very dark days. Good luck to all who entered.

  • Chrysoprase

    There’s important news about the draw for the OLDBOROUGH HOUSE and ESTATE. (It was due to take place this week.)

    The owners, Mr and Mrs Wilshaw have announced on their website that the Draw has been POSTPONED and will not now take place on 16th October (tomorrow). They have been asked by THE GAMBLING COMMISSION to answer questions about the way the scheme has been organised. They have issued a long statement, but here it is in full:

    Postponement of Draw Date

    We are so sorry to have to tell all of our entrants that the Draw has been postponed.

    The Gambling Commission have begun looking into the concept of House Competitions generally and as part of that process we have contacted and are in discussions with them to confirm that the competition meets their requirements.

    At this late stage of proceedings, the Gambling Commission have asked for more information on the Competition question, despite the fact that we approached them for guidance before the start of the competition in March of this year, only to be told that they had no issues with our conduct or the running of the competition.

    It seems that after our success, which was only made possible by our entrants and the public support which we’ve received, a number of copycat projects have launched which the commission are concerned may not comply with their guidelines. This means that they are looking into all similar competitions and raising issues over the concept of dealing with property in this innovative way.

    We have been asked to demonstrate why we believe that our question prevented a significant number of people from participating in the competition, which is the main legal test to decide whether or not the competition is authentic rather than a simple lottery or game of chance.

    We and our Solicitor have responded immediately and told the Commission that only a small minority of the population have purchased coarse fishing licences over the past year – around 500,000 from an adult population of 45 million. As such, only a small minority of the public would know the answer to our question without any basic research over the internet which the Commission’s guidance stated was in line with the current legislation.

    We realise that the Commission will need to make checks given the sheer number of sites coming on line, but we are of course frustrated by the timing of their queries and the fact that they have previously made open statements to us and to the national press that the Competition was lawful. We were asked to postpone the draw on October 3rd and since then have done everything we can to assist the commission and to demonstrate that we have followed their guidelines to the letter, however the process is still ongoing and as such we have no choice but to postpone the draw to ensure that all of our entrants still receive their chance to win.

    We, like you, are desperately disappointed by this news, coming so close to what should have been the most exciting time in this project and the realisation of handing the keys to our dream property to the lucky winner. We are also devastated that, by changing the rules after the process began, the Commission may decide that our dream may not be realised.

    We are continuing our discussions with the Commission and can reassure all of you that the entry fund is still in place and still safe. The worst case scenario is that all of our entrants will be issued with a full refund if the draw does not go ahead.

    In the meantime, we are eternally grateful for all of your support and would be delighted if you could forward on any messages of support to us via E-Mail to with the words ’Public Support’ in the subject line so that we can pass them on to the Gambling Commission in the hope of making this dream a reality.”

    (We hope that you can appreciate that we may not be able to send you an acknowledgment for any of these emails of support).

    Brian, Wendy and Louisa Wilshaw

  • stixanstones

    I see the competition winalondon pad has given away an apartment, which should give a little hope to the Wilshaw’s and with Dreamhome competition and pickahouse all selling at a steady rate not to mention the dozens of similar sites springing up not just in the UK but all over Europe and the USA it’s time someone saw sense and let these people get on with their lives after all they have been up front from the very beginning involving solicitors, the national media and the Gambling commission in every step of the way they just want to get a fair price for their home and their business and I’m sure all of the 45,999 who don’t win wont begrudge them a penny or feel in the slightest way cheated so where is the crime