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.

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