Category: News

BMW Draw – Whoops!

Hi all,

It is March 18th and I just logged onto the BMW draw page to see that ‘somehow’, the page had reverted to a very early version. I have no idea how that came about but, luckily, the current version was saved to History so I have been able to put it right with a mouse click.

I’m stunned (in a good way!) that nobody complained to me about this — and I even received new entries — but, if you’re a BMW entrant, it must have seemed peculiar to see the page reverting to where it stood a couple of months ago, with only a handful of entrants showing. So sorry for this but, just to reassure you, everyone is of course logged on a database and the on-screen version is just to keep you updated (well, supposed to be, when it works!) so if there is a major glitch, that doesn’t affect the database and I will pick up the error sooner or later and rectify it.

Again, sincere sorry for any worry caused.



BMW D-Base Clean-Up Begins in Prep for Draw

The process of cleaning the BMW database has begun on 15th March, 2018.

This means you may see small changes and corrections. For example, if you bought ten tickets, instead of listing you against every ticket number, the public list will now show (as an example) ‘(282-291) – Smyth’. (This is fictitious!)

This makes me work through every allocation and sale systematically, checking all numbers (quantity of tickets bought) are correct and no numbers are missing or duplicated. It would be a total disaster if I drew a number and then found out I’d double-allocated it, so that’s why this tedious clean-up is needed.

Giving each entrant a block instead of citing every individual number means I’m more likely to spot errors, and so are you. It means the whole public list becomes easier to view, for one thing. Bear with me while I complete this work.

On rare occasions, if I spot an error in my number allocations, you may be given an ‘a’ instead of a sequential number. This means, I’d allocated you the same number as I’d given to someone else and have now corrected it by affording you (as an example) 161 and 161a, noting the ‘a’ as a separate database entry too. I’ve spotted one such mistake already and this proves the value of going right back through a database with eagle eyes and reading specs.

I’ll be putting in full work days from now until the draws are made, to pick up errors.

You may continue to buy BMW tickets until I close this event, on April 14th, just a day prior to the Draw.

As we are talking about a maximum of 1000 ticket sales, there’s no problem in accepting entries more or less through to the close, especially as I am now database cleansing on an ongoing basis, whereas the house draw entries will need to cease in time to give me (and a hired team) 14 days to clean and de-dupe the massive entrants’ list.

Attending the Draws

Hi all,

Please don’t take this as a criticism, but as more of an explanation.

I appreciate every person who has entered this crazy event. The trust required is phenomenal. I know, because there was a house draw I wanted to enter, and no matter how tempting it was (and it was), I couldn’t bring myself to go through with it.

So, when it comes to the draws for such events, they need more trust and faith in the promoters than you were required to invest when you bought your tickets.

Now, a while ago, I asked if anyone wished to attend the BMW draw? 

There’s been only one taker so far and I need to firm up numbers by the 15th March, to book a venue.

Having read much of the flak that winners of similar events received in the recent past, it’d be advantageous to have a handful of entrants in attendance.

I’m split, though — as I think you’ll understand — between quite liking the idea of nobody coming, because it’s easy and cost effective, and the notion of at least ten coming.

I have committed to buying professional filming. But when I add a venue, time off work and so on, it is expensive. Contrary to popular belief, I am not rolling in money from these competitions and that’s why I also choose to end on time, irrespective of whether I have to give a cash award in place of the house, or whether it turns out I can award the house.

The reality is, I need to get back to uninterrupted earning and privacy!

But, to revert to the original topic at hand:

I have no problem doing the draws with no entrants in attendance, but I think I’d end up feeling bad and anxious. I liken this experience to coming off a flight and walking through the ‘Nothing to Declare’ section of H.M. Customs. We know we don’t have anything to hide, but we feel rotten and scrutinised anyway.

I’ve seen other promoters being pulled apart, and winners’ reputations being decimated, when draws were carried out. 

I understand the notion of being a ‘sore loser’. Really.

But, how deeply do people consider what the promoter can do to give that level of reassurance every entrant will accept? Do you consider what ‘transparency’ comprises? What do you need from a promoter, in order for them to be credible?

How easy is it for one person to try and annihilate another’s reputation — promoter or winner — simply because they did not win? I’ve observed the best and the worst of human nature when I have seen the comments post-draw, after other promoters’ events.

I will be having films of both my draws, so if you don’t attend, you’ll have these. There will be a professional filmmaker (booked).

If you feel that is enough to reassure you, fantastic, and I appreciate the massive votes of confidence I receive every day by email! I honestly think I have a phenomenal entrant database, and ‘you have my back’! That’s amazing.

I can count on two hands those who have tried to pull me down and bully me. Conversely, I have lost count of the lovely, supportive emails that encourage me to keep running competitions way past the close of this event.

Yet…despite the support online and offline, I still worry. 

There’ll be film editing involved, so I will need to await the films, and it isn’t as if the filmmakers only have my project to worry about. They are snowed under.

So, be aware, if you don’t come, I will know who’s won, yet not be able to tell anyone but those who were in attendance, until I have the films available. I’m not going to do anything on a whim, and I will also respect the processes involved and the winners’ privacy.

The only alternative (which I am considering too) is to announce the winners immediately but not show anything by way of films, until they are ready for release.

For the very few doubters, I want you to consider the implication of at least a handful of entrants not being there.

No sooner had the previous competitions (from other promoters) closed, than the flak started online:

“Surely, it doesn’t take more than a day to announce a winner!”

“All she/he needs to do is look at the database… you’d think it would be easy!”

“He used his own solicitor! Unbelievable!”

“It’s not far from the winner’s house to hers…probably her friend.”

“It’s bound to be someone he/she knows!”

Really. I saw each one of these comments online, and yet I spend barely any time looking at anyone else’s events, so how many such comments are there?

I only see them when Facebook plonks someone’s competitions in front of me. I spend my time trying to avoid them. I’m only interested in what’s right for my event and my entrants. I mean, if you run any kind of business, how much time do you invest in watching what everyone else is doing, in the same profession? 

Impartial Professionals

Blah…. So, anyway…promoters try and offset the inevitable flak, trying to get hold of the “impartial professionals” we envisaged.

But, as I have discovered, the professionals who are worthy of having there, (representing the big brands you will know and trust) quite rightly won’t attend unless they do have some stake in it. They won’t allow their brand, their company, their reputation, to be balanced on a knife-edge by attending and being named at something they had no involvement in.

Why should we expect them to? Would you do it if your company’s reputation were at stake? Would it be worth it? Why?

If they just attend for the sake of attending — and let’s say they do come ‘cold’ to the event, which is what the doubters want — what would that prove apart from the fact that someone uninvolved came along? Might as well pick any person off the street.

Then, let’s say that something dodgy comes out afterwards, even way down the line–if a promoter does do wrong–where would that leave these large companies, the lawyers and accountants who came along, supposedly to be “impartial observers”?

The pressure on them and their corporate brands is unreasonably high.

So, they will come and be named only if they have a stake. And if they have one, then you don’t approve of them and some talk badly of them.

The fee a large firm earns off a few hours’ competition attendance, is a drop in the ocean, not worth the risk of a tarnished reputation.

By saying these firms would want a ‘stake’, I don’t mean that they’d want to be entrants. They certainly wouldn’t want that, and in my discussions with these professionals, at no stage has anyone asked for a stake in that way. I mean, conversely:

– an accountant will only agree to be there — or show any interest at all — if they have audited the accounts. That’s fair.

However, there isn’t the time to audit accounts in between an event’s close and the draw of a winner. And — as I have been told four times by different accountancy firms — it’s not even achievable due to the scale of the database and all the to-ing and fro-ing that’s ensued each time an entrant changed their mind, altered their entry, made a form mistake, and so on. Around 1 in every 5 entrants made a form mistake.

An audit has to have every single ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ crossed, because that’s the whole point of auditing, but auditing an event with over 100,000 entries and where 1 in 5 made at least one error, takes a very long time indeed and would go way beyond the scope of funds available via a competition; it could take months, even if it were achievable. And–it’d eat the funds away!

Remember, for every entry and entrant — of which we have tens of thousands or more — the proof would need to be seen and logged. For every entry.

A standard set of accounts will, however, come later after the draw result, from an accountant.

What some people also don’t realise, (although, thankfully, most do) is that after a competition closes and before a draw can happen, a hell of a lot of database cleansing and rectification takes place, (or should do) otherwise it’s a flawed draw, carried out too fast to avoid errors.

If a draw happens with lightning speed after the close, how clean and professional is that database?

A fast draw, without weeks of database cleansing, payment matching, de-duplication, etc, could even end up picking someone who either received a refund and pulled out, or who sabotaged the event in some way, sending in 5,000 free entries, or using fake postage stamps. These things happen every week throughout any major competition’s lifetime, but while a database sits online and takes automated entries, changes and updates cannot be made.

I don’t know how other promoters manage this, but I run the best possible automated database I can, and manually log all changes on a running basis.

That means, when I do eventually get access to the final, static database, (when the database ceases taking entries), I’ll then have weeks of manual amendments to implement. After that, I will get the whole thing checked by a quantitative research agency that’s used to data input and can help me if I haven’t hit my targets. They will do a double-check and input remaining forms.

It is only once an automated database shuts down, and the final file is pulled down into Excel or similar, that all this database cleansing can start to happen. These events have one promoter…this is not the National Lottery with thousands of employees.

My competition is the only event that promised refunds. And boy, do I regret it…not because of the scale of refunds (high enough) but because of the to-ing and fro-ing of some entrants who enter one day, only to pull their fee back the next, and because of the enormous administrative burden.

Automated software was great for the flawless receipt and logging of the first entry forms, but each time you came back asking for changes upwards, downwards, upside-down and sideways, for refunds, then re-purchases, then more refunds, partial refunds, then name changes, number changes, ticket allocation divisions (some automated, some chosen by you), for splits between family members, for discounts, for me to put in false names reflecting a fall-out between hubby and wife, son or daughter, or to reflect a marital split, a divorce, a clandestine affair, a catastrophic legacy issue, an inheritance…. upgrades, downgrades, changes to qualifying answers…and so on… well, I had to (have to still…) make all these manually.

Ffffffffff…. really, I am exhausted even reading about these. I thought my own past was complicated enough….ha.

And so, I logged your changes in email folders suitably named, and in many cases, have to wait to implement them. I have folder upon folder of changes, with thousands of alterations in each.

I am fortunate in that I was the Managing Director of a couple of number-crunching research agencies, so I know how to avoid panic stations and to get the jobs done once the automation has stopped. It will mean hiring staff, though.

I look forward to that cessation, when I can unburden myself of all these manual records.

Then, once the core database is cleansed of those who pulled out, increased their allocations, decreased their allocations, sent fake banknotes, sent fake cheques, sent fake postal orders, sent the wrong sum, sent 50 free forms a day, received a refund, stalked the promoter, tried to break into the house, said they’d damage the car, got the answers to the qualifier wrong,,.sent forms in a foreign language that needs to be translated, and the list goes on and on… I need to address the small task of adding the free entrants.


Let’s say we have even (only) 2,000 free entrants.

How long would it take you, to input the name (bearing in mind Russian, Icelandic, Croatian, French, German, Italian…etc spellings), email addresses in duplicates, physical addresses, phone numbers, answers to the qualifying questions, comments and observations…ticket purchases and spend calculations, multiplied by at least 2,000? And then, while you’re making these changes… at least 20% of the total database is emailing you, saying how it’s changed again, and wanting same-day answers I do try to send. 

Try it.

Create an Excel file and input the fields as above, then enter every family member you can think of. How long does that take you? Multiply that by however many, ha, and add in the long-winded explanations and the languages you can’t begin to understand.

Painfully slow, isn’t it?

And all of this is JUST to consider the ‘accounting’ or auditing needs can’t easily be met, at least not in a meaningful manner.

After that….?

Then, we come to the legal experts we all — as promoters — try and hire for our draws.


Legal Experts

The same issues largely apply :

– a solicitor won’t attend a house prize competition unless they are the appointed legal firm to deal with, for example, the conveyancing of a house after the draw. Even then, they feel they need vast expertise in running competitions, if they’re to apply their name to a draw result. And, just the same as for accountants and auditors, they need to have examined the whole caboodle.

Conveyancing solicitors and competitions-specialist solicitors are not the same animals so that’s the first issue, while the time it would require — with these solicitors working at £300/ hour upwards, if they have competitions specialisms! — makes hires impossible for anything beyond superficiality.

And the pretty obvious problem anyway, is, the juncture at which a promoter appoints a solicitor or another professional, that person then has already lost their impartiality. They are now ‘my’ hired solicitor, accountant, etc.

And that is what led to criticisms of another promoter: i saw cries of ‘well, that was his own solicitor, so he’s hardly impartial!’

Yes..guys…as soon as we hire someone, they become ‘our solicitor’, by default.

Crikey, guys… how can this whole argument of impartiality ever be ‘won’ by a promoter, or, indeed, by the winners of any major competition, when there are tens thousands of critics standing by to apportion online flak at the drop of a hat?

Try pleasing every one of your family on any issue…or pleasing every employee of a firm…and multiply it by tens of thousands.

And this is why you being there might just be useful, ha. 

A promoter cannot go and hostage-take a lawyer, accountant/auditor and say, ‘I’ll release you when you and your company have IMPARTIALLY agreed, and written in blood, that my draw was won fair and square!’

The same applies with journalists.

Journalists, at least any worth their salt, want to cover great stories. New stories. Exciting, titillating stories.

Rightly so. Who wants to read the same old, same old…? Do you?

There is now such a plethora of house competitions that the whole ‘Mrs Bloggs raffled her house!’ story is old news, and a tad dull.

People keep emailing me news of other people’s house competitions. The truth is, I don’t have any interest. I am not an entrant and I didn’t review other competitions before setting up my own. I’m as bored as many of you are, with hearing about the many events ongoing.

When I see the flak on my events’ ad threads on Facebook, saying, ‘hasn’t this thing ended yet?’ — well, I empathise! This is why, despite the ability to still draw in way more funding, I now keep advertising to the minimum and have had weeks at a time where no paid ads have been running. It’s not enticing to bore and irritate people.

This is also why I don’t bombard my entrants with ‘stuff’ in the guise of supposed news. There’s only so much house-competition-itis anyone can swallow.

Now, I was inundated with requests from outstanding journalists when I went live with this competition, but since then, not a peep. And that’s no criticism of them; this is not hot news. No, it’s really not.

All promoters are vying for the same attention and PR. And even if a journalist attends, then, ‘so what?’

What does that prove?

Surely, the best way to feel reassured is if we can get a group of., say, 10+ attendees at each draw? At least you see it for yourselves and you can represent the entrants, to some degree.

If you don’t need to attend (and — a second time — I really do appreciate, value and thank the very many who have written about how they trust me and like how I ran this thing), then I will do my best in your absence, to be the best representative I can be, and film these draws.

I have no problem with that, and it’s the easy and cheap option as I won’t be hiring venues. But then, please accept I did my damnedest.

Groans and gripes are now over with, ha. : )

Sorry…. ! And this brings me nicely to….



**UPDATE on March 12th: After many requests to do this, I am rolling these two draws — BMW and house — together into one evening, so that anyone attending doesn’t have to come twice.

The date will be: April 15th, 2018. Venue TBD.

It also means I have a month less than originally intended, in which to get stressed and anxious. I wake with daily palpitations as it is, and dearly hope not to drop dead before the draws, ha.

So, I hope this is good news for everyone.


BMW DRAW / 18K CASH DRAW + HOUSE DRAW / CASH DRAW (Depending on funds position at the time)

I am looking at April 15th (Sunday) for the draws. So far, ONE man has asked to come. And he’s making a colossal effort and coming in from overseas. Well done, that man!

I truly appreciate you, sir, and I am going to weave in an extra ticket for you as a thank-you token, for being the first to offer to come along and for making the effort to come from overseas.



If you’d like to attend, please let me know, in writing, in a short email where this is the sole content

That means I won’t miss it in between other messages, and I will be able to just file it as a Draw Attendee email.

If the email is long and rambling (like my posts!) or has other topics in it, as I now get more than 500 emails a day (aaagh) there’s a chance it will get filed inappropriately. So I just need a firm and clear commitment to attend and I’ll write back to confirm it.

There will be a nominal charge to come as I will have to hire a venue, but once we have numbers, I can say how much. I am hoping no more than £10 per person and we don’t need anything posh, just somewhere with great wi-fi, not too far away from the Stockport filmmakers.

Of course, you can bring your partner, the kids, whoever… but each person will need to have the per capita fee covered and there will be a maximum attendee cut-off, which I will have a think about.

Thanks, all. Sorry if I sound narked and even impolite. I appreciate you all so very much — really! — but I especially don’t want my events’ winners attracting the sort of unfair flak I have seen applied to other house competition winners, who won those events fair and square. If you want transparency, it means treating winners with respect (and most people do).

Either you want to come and watch, or you trust us all.

To register your intention to attend, please email:

Thank you so much.

March 10th, 2018 

BMW X5 – Attendance at the Draw!

Hello all,

I hope you all survived the hellish weather last week. Swythamley didn’t come off too well, as usual. Being in an area with so many trees and that’s prone to drifts, we had power outages and many trees down… plenty of damage. But we all pulled through, so here’s hoping you’re all okay.

Now is the time to start asking which entrants in the BMW draw would like to attend the giveaway?!

I still intend to make this a face-to-face event, and at first, I’d like to see who’d like to attend. It will be in the evening and I would try to hire a local venue, depending on numbers and funds. 

If you can register your interest in attending a draw on APRIL 15TH (Sunday) in a venue to be decided, in Cheshire area, please email me at 

I will assemble a list based on ‘first come, first served’ and will need to limit numbers because of venue restrictions, so please let me know your intent to come along, by the end of March 15th. I will also hold a reserves list of other attendees, in case some pull out. Please note that your fee to attend will need to be paid ahead; as a seasoned organiser of events, I know that collecting funds on the night will leave me short, since some who promise to attend won’t show, invariably! So, a commitment to attend will need to be matched by funds once I have the costings for a venue.

Please be mindful that funds gained from the house competition are still “yours” not mine, so I can’t delve into those! Hence, I am thinking and hoping that £10 per person should be adequate for a venue hire, but once I know numbers, I will be able to get costings in plenty of time for room hire.

The reason I wouldn’t hold this at the chapel is really because of my elderly Persian cat, Snoober; she is delicate now and would be stressed by large groups of visitors, but I certainly hope you will still want to come. It helps the transparency of the giveaway if I can see people face to face, who have a stake.

I will drive the BMW to the venue but would appreciate a lift home if the lucky winner is in attendance! Everyone will be able to view it on site. We can enjoy drinks and a chat and then…. trumpet fanfare…do the draw. I do not know how to do a live feed so that everyone can view but if anyone does, who plans to attend, please be my tutor!

**Please can I ask that your emails are kept businesslike as I get sometimes more than 400 a day! Please just put ‘Attend BMW Draw’ in your header, and then in the email body, write your full name, postal address and how many BMW tickets you hold.

Thank you! It should be fun! Please also bear in mind that the £10 charge is variable depending on the venue hire cost–but I will be charging ‘at cost’ with no mark-up.


‘Fair Use’ Policy

We all know of those broadband providers who say they offer unlimited use, but when you read further, they’re applying a ‘fair use’ policy.

What does this mean?

It means, you use it within reasonable limits, and those limits are self-imposed. You’re supposed to apply a sense of reason and fairness, and should use your unlimited broadband provision only to such a degree that you’re not exploiting the system or endangering the ‘unlimited use’ structure for all the other customers. 

The same applies to free entries in a competition. Doesn’t it?

A couple of times this week, I have found that the postman couldn’t fit all my mail into the small mailbox. From inside my house, I could hear the poor chap trying to force the masses of mail into the box.

I opened it up to remove the clogged-up entry forms, only to find the damn thing is filled with forms from more or less one person. Now, it takes around 50 entry forms in envelopes, to fill my mailbox to a point of bursting at the joints, and this is what one man has been mailing me this week. 

While I don’t want to (nor can I) apply entry form restrictions, sending me 50 free entry forms a day is taking the ____ (fill in the missing word). I don’t know how you would go about entering 50 forms a day onto a manual database, but Mr X, you’re most welcome to come and enter them yourself and see how much work this is and how long it takes. It’s actually not feasible to enter 50 forms a day unless I don’t do a single other thing for any other entrant.

The fact that these 50 forms a day are arriving, stops other entrants’ mail arriving as the postie has actually returned some mail he could not deliver when I was out, all because this man’s mail has filled the capacity. My bank statements were all squashed and crumpled, and on another day, some letters were left on the doorstep and blew around in the rain. 

So, if this is you, sending a huge volume of entry forms, may I say as politely as possible–stop it, and find something more productive to do with your time, ha.

I might also point out that your 50 free entries are costing you more than £25 a day in postage, and with that, you could support the competition and buy at least a few paid entries, thereby increasing the chance of a successful close for everybody!

Signed: Unimpressed of Swythamley

Audi TT – Mr Comerford Wins!

I am thrilled to announce formally that Mr John Comerford of Barnet, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom won the mini-draw for my Audi TT, that was drawn on the evening of Sunday 12th February.

Mr Comerford was actually drawn in second place; however, I discovered the first entrant had just cancelled her main competition entry a couple of days prior, therefore was no longer eligible. This just goes to show–don’t be hasty!

I’m delighted that John was drawn, as he is a very supportive entrant and a thoroughly nice person. Thank you to everyone who took part, and roll on the BMW draw in April!


Competitions: What Comes Next?

As we near the end of the Win a Country Church Competition and both of its sub-promotions, the Audi TT and the BMW X5 Mini-Competitions, I have begun thinking about what comes next. I mean, DOES anything else come next, or should I just call it a day?

I’ve been in two minds.

It’s been a crazy, tense rollercoaster ride, for sure, but there are so many upsides and I have met–even if just in a virtual sense–so many fabulous people along the way.

I had pretty much lost my faith in people and as the years had passed, was becoming less and less interested in doing anything remotely sociable or social! But, Win a Country Church may have turned this around for me. It’s very clear that a large number of people have really enjoyed my mini-competitions, and the sillier and dafter the better!

So, could I use this as the basis for something new and fun after all the current competitions have closed? More than that, could something come out of it to help people who need a bit of financial or practical support?

The medium of Prize Competitions — legitimate ones, not illegal lotteries in which I have zero interest — is an interesting one for someone from a corporate background. They can capture the imagination and attention of many, in a short timespan. As a means to raise funds, it turns out they are great. Please don’t take that to mean that they’re easy or that they raise money without trying! This is by far the hardest exercise I have ever done in my professional life.

If I cease to market aggressively, the entries cease. I have no idea how promoters without marketing skills fare… probably, they don’t fare at all.

Of course, they also bring a huge dollop of flak, as every Promoter will attest, but I’m still sure that there are many new ventures that can use competitions as a way to bring fun back into people’s weeks and also, to give to benevolent causes along the way.

A little while back, I tried to give £5,000 raised from sales of BMW tickets, to a good cause. Well, that backfired! Fast!

It’s a learning curve, and that was just another small hurdle. The intent was certainly there, but within a few days of naming where the £5,000 would go, the family concerned had pulled out. I was all set to go along with the filmmakers and shoot a little promo video for them… a lot of time, planning and thought had gone into it. Nope. It was suddenly all off.

No hard feelings; I guess that’s the way it will often go; people who need help don’t always want to be in the public eye any more than I do myself. It can be quite daunting and– at times–horribly intrusive. So, I empathise! It is a tricky situation when you’re needing help yet want to have privacy. Indeed, how will the giving public know where their money goes, if people won’t be named and photographed? Luckily, it was ‘my’money I was giving, by and large. 

But, it did rather make me rethink the business model and leave me temporarily deflated, as I hadn’t imagined it to be so damned tough finding someone deserving to give money to.

I can’t collect funds on behalf of the needy, if the needy just won’t want to be identified–unless, of course, it’s within the remit of a charitable organisation. And I can’t set up a charity within an existing competition as that merely muddies the waters of what on earth I am running here. 

So, for now, I have had to pull back on any giving aspect. But that doesn’t mean I won’t re-think it and approach it from a different angle, when Win a Country Church is done and dusted. The cogs have been whirring.

I am working on an outline business plan for a competitions-based company that will be great fun week-to-week for my entrants, but also will help those who fall on hard times. How does that sound? Fun, daft, silly little competitions where there’s no target, but where x% of the sum raised–however small or great it turns out to be–is given as a prize pot and x% reinvested into future competitions, and a third % given to needy people who must make a mini-application for assistance.

I plan to start small and simple, testing the water with mini-competitions and low level entry fees, (£! – £5 maximum) and a weekly or at least fortnightly prize.No prolonging, no complexity, no faff.

The key will be in the marketing; who knows how small or large the prize pot will be? Much will depend on whether you like it and support it, but if you do, then it should grow and grow by word of mouth or social media.

Maybe in Week 1, we don’t get much past a few hundred pounds. But that could still give you £100 or £200 back for your investment of £1, and –all being well– pay an old lady’s shopping bill or gas bill. In week 2, could we reach twice that and pay someone’s rent… you see the business model here…?

The more I interact with entrants on Facebook, the more I see patterns of ‘need’ emerging.

People who are sick, infirm, who have fallen on hard times, or whose neighbours, kids or parents suddenly need something that’s out of reach….they are all represented in the entrants and their relatives and friends.

The only thing I will need from you is low-level entry fees, willingness, passion to help, and funding applications from people who need assistance, and who agree to be identified!

I will have to show where the ‘benevolent’ element of the money goes. That’s imperative.

As a result of earlier seeking out nominations of who needs help, and that falling flat after the nominees at first accepted and then declined, I’ll now need to hear from the would-be recipients themselves rather than from entrants. It’s all very well naming Mrs Jones who needs a new shopping trolley but if Mrs Jones won’t be identified and photographed when we deliver one to her, we can’t give to her. Trust will always be at the core of competitions with any benevolent component.

So, anyway–that’s the current thinking. 

The desire to move ahead and fund community and small-scale social projects via fun and innovative competitions, is why I would really like to bring the current competitions to a close soon, so they don’t all get mixed up!

I’d love to hear what you think. Would you pay £1 upwards for a shot at winning an unknown pot on a weekly basis… with a named % going back into community causes? It’d be great to get some chat going on the Facebook page (Group) entitled Win a Country Church Frivolity & Fun Group. 

I will start a thread in the next days… thanks for mulling it over!


Audi TT Giveaway – Final Week!

We are now entering the final week in which you can enter the Audi TT giveaway.

Promoter Annie’s beautiful, 2003 Audi TT will have a winner on 11th February in a randomised number draw. 

If you hold a ticket – free or paid – in Your Country Church competition, you are eligible to complete an entry form in the TT giveaway mini-draw. The tickets are one-per-person only, but others in your household may of course enter too, as long as each person entering to win the TT holds at least one Your Country Church entry.

Here is the Audi TT entry form for those who are eligible.

The images above were taken today, 2nd February. Apologies it looks a touch muddy; this is a fine and shiny car when washed, I promise!

It is not too late to enter. If you’d like a shot at winning a beautiful old TT that drives like a dream and has flawless bodywork and red leather, make sure you obtain your ticket(s) in Your Country Church competition.

The car can be collected on/after 25th February from Swythamley Chapel, SK11 0SN, U.K., by the winner ONLY. Please do not send others to collect without prior arrangement.

The funds–should you choose to receive the cash instead–can be sent immediately I announce the winner if you’re in the United Kingdom, or within five working days if you are overseas. I will need to visit the bank to instruct this or can send immediately by Paypal, as a ‘friends and family’ gift.

The winner does need to visit the Facebook page of Win a Country Church to claim the prize, for the sake of transparency, but after this, the funds can be sent or the car given.

Details on how to buy house competition tickets are here–note, there’s also a BMW X5 competition for which you have to buy tickets, whereas the Audi TT entry is free. So don’t mix up the two.

CASH Award Available in Place of BMW X5 Mini-Draw Prize

LATEST NEWS: BMW X5 Mini-Competition

January 30th: Take the car or take the cash. What will you choose?

Pay £62.50 to enter the BMW X5 car competition (see Payments page) as one of just 1,000 tickets, and you can choose to take £18,000 in place of the car upon winning, if desired. Originally, you could only enter if wanting the vehicle.

This cash alternative now applies no matter where you live. Previously, the offer was extended only to those outside the U.K. Now, it’s open to everyone. 

So, with truly incredible odds (just 1: 160 currently but I hope this will end up as 1: 1000!) and a beautiful SUV or a generous cash offer on the table, what have you to lose?

Which other car competition will deliver such great odds, a public draw and a cash alternative? Although there are some great car events around, they never seem to state how many entries they are taking. Here, even if I do sell all 1,000 tickets, it’s still phenomenal odds.

BMW – Cash Alternative Draw : 

Ticket sales stop on 15th April latest.
Competition draw is on April 22nd, latest, at a public event.

There will be no extension of this BMW X5 draw date. In the interests of transparency and customer satisfaction, it goes ahead no matter what! The odds here could be very much in entrants’ favour. Eeek! 

I’d better get my skates on and sell more tickets!

Meanwhile, a big thank you for all your support. I feel tremendously lucky to have a massive group of supportive entrants.



Competition Update – Sales and Progress

The house competition to give away Swythamley Chapel closes when 125,000 tickets have been sold, or when we reach the closing date for entries, which is presently still April 1st.

There is presently no intention to extend as it only leads to entrant disappointment. 

The sole situation in which I’d extend, is if the sales at the time were just a little short of the target and showed *without doubt* that within the 90-day extension, we’d make up the shortfall. So, at present, I’m happy with where we are and hope we’ll achieve the target–despite some early obstacles along the way!

This has been (and still is!) one crazy rollercoaster ride with sales up one minute, down the next, then up again! 

So, you want to know what happens if we don’t reach the target? 

Well, one thing’s guaranteed, and that’s the fact that if I don’t give away the house due to a shortfall (that would mean the mortgage couldn’t get paid off), the cash pot the winner would then receive instead, will also be quite tempting anyway.

If we didn’t end up having sufficient to pay off the mortgage and give the house away, then by default that means the odds are massively improved for entrants. The sole reason we’d have a shortfall is if we don’t get enough ticket sales… makes sense, yes?

So, the worst case scenario would be that you’d have a much better chance than ever of winning a chunk of cash as the entrant numbers would be lower than intended.

But it’ll be your call–at that point–whether you stay in or extract your funds and entries. At the moment, things look okay for getting to a giveaway, although sales fluctuate markedly.

I’d advise you to sit tight and see where we’re at in April, as always was the plan!

If I do report insufficient funds to give away the house in April, you can then decide to stay in or extract your entry funds and come out of the cash draw….or whether to sit tight and see if your number comes up for the cash  award.

**I do still think we’ll make it to a house giveaway, so don’t assume we won’t get there–but as things fluctuate a lot, I’d need to take a view in April!**


I will always seek to preserve a risk-free status for entrants, and refunds have always been on a no-questions basis in order to facilitate that risk-free status for you all. Almost all refunds so far were given for hardship reasons and offering them has never been a problem; I encourage them, as I want all entrants to feel secure. 

But I’d say it’s still looking good for a house giveaway–and blimey, I really want it!!

Entrants have, all the way along, been amazingly supportive. I hope my honesty here only helps, not hinders, sales… as we still have a great opportunity to get there!


The big questions for entrants are always, how many tickets have I sold (not the faintest as there are so many calculation variables–the automated database has to be stopped to get a real count, as it needs cleaning and de-duplicating etc) but I do have a firm steer on how far from the goal we are, as I know the sum in the bank and can work off that. 

In case you wondered, working out numbers of tickets sold is not as simple as many believe! Running a complex database is very…complex, as I said!

It’s definitely not as simple as calculating backwards, i.e. it isn’t a case of dividing the sales total by £6 to get “number of tickets sold.” 

It’s not a problem, though. After the database closes I will clean it and then I’ll know exactly how many tickets sold.


So let’s work, in the interim, off the banked sum, as that’s more than sufficient to tell me whether I can give away the house. Remember, although I’d like to get to 125,000 ticket sales, as long as I can pay off the mortgage, I’m pretty happy.

The sum taken and banked amounts to around £175,000. That’s still an encouraging sum given that there are almost 3 months still left to run, and the sales can pick up markedly by making the smallest of changes. Of course, this sum would have been so much higher if Barclays hadn’t presented an early, significant, banking problem..more on that, below.

Introducing the credit card and debit card facility on January 16th has lifted sales quite a bit in the last few days so, who knows whether we’ll make up the Barclays-induced shortfall!


The sum LOST (that was never processed but should have come into the competition in September last year) thanks to a very early but impactful Barclays Bank error–which really was an error and unintentional on their part–was just over £300,000. 

So in all, we “should have had” at least £475k through the bank by now. But we haven’t. Grr. 

Let me stress, those sums simply stayed within the entrants’ own bank accounts. So it’s not that they came in and then got somehow lost or refunded… I only wish they’d been processed in the first place, which is what the entrants wanted.

These funds were simply never processed by the bank due to the speed with which they arrived and some very wrong internal beliefs at Barclays, which made even Barclays employees believe Barclays Pingit was a good way for me to take funds, in the early days of the house competition. 

I’d been recommended to use Pingit, when it was never going to be able to process fast funds or large amounts. Even now, Barclays don’t understand when it shuts down and why, and what its software capabilities are. 

The surprising part of that was that Barclays seniors, even within Pingit, didn’t realise their system was set up to cut off at some paltry low sum–something like, £600 a month! Great…!


So there we are–we’re at £175k or thereabouts, less costs, but we still have a chance to hit the sum needed by April as sales continue to go up and down like I don’t know what. 

By the way, Barclays Bank is a great ally now–the early issues are resolved and I now only take bank transfers and cheques, no more Barclays Pingit (or Barclays ping-off as it turned out to be!). There’s never been a problem with transfers and cheques.

If the required sum doesn’t come in between now and then, the accumulated cash (after direct costs of promotion) will be transferred to the winner, with nothing held back. 

The sole circumstance in which the house won’t be given, is if the cash accumulated from sales doesn’t suffice to pay off the mortgage. 

In that case, it becomes impossible (unlawful!) to give away the house itself as it would have a lender’s loan against it–so that’s not a promoter’s choice, if this happens!


Unlikely. And hopefully, we’ll get there anyway, with the help of the new credit and debit card processing that’s lifted sales somewhat. Things are going great just now.

Extending a competition like this isn’t generally a good strategy and most entrants hate the idea too. 

If there have been insufficient funds banked, that indicates a marked loss of sales momentum, so, just dragging it out could increase the cash coming in marginally, but it’s still unlikely to be sufficient unless the shortfall’s only very small at that point. 

Extending competitions can soon become the Carillion of giveaways–and I don’t want that! 

I’m never sure why promoters often extend their draw dates as it seems to just prolong people’s agony–the promoter’s included–and seems a bit delusional, if not even misleading.

The main aim in my case is to ensure the minimum requirement of being able to fund the mortgage pay-off. 

Should it prove impossible to achieve the sum needed to do that, all entrants would have a choice of a refund OR to be entered in the draw to win the cash, and an email would be sent to everyone on the database, with options. But it’s way too premature to say the house won’t be given… it’s a waiting game.

Sales still come in very well, notwithstanding the peaks and troughs, so we’ll see if we hit the mark…! The £155 bundle is a good seller, and the BMW event has helped house ticket sales too.



The BMW X5 vehicle WILL be awarded in April latest, no matter what. There are no barriers at all to giving away the BMW on time.

It’s raring to go to a new owner. Ideally, we’ll hit the target of £62,000 on that sub-promo sooner, and the mini-draw can happen as soon as that sum is reached. I really want this to succeed as it helps 9-year-old Liam with his sports ambitions, and gets him back on his feet, as detailed in the BMW part of the website.

If we don’t reach the target sum for the BMW, it still gets awarded in April, however.

Check out the Payments page to see the day’s best offers.