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Home sweet home: Family wins house in raffle

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Key to happiness: Venkat, Ambica and their son Gautam Akkapelli are ready to move in. Photo: Adrian Donohoe

Key to happiness: Venkat, Ambica and their son Gautam Akkapelli are ready to move in. Photo: Adrian Donohoe

Key to happiness: Venkat, Ambica and their son Gautam Akkapelli are ready to move in. Photo: Adrian Donohoe

A young family who never even dreamed of owning their home have hit the jackpot after winning a brand new house in Dublin worth €375,000.

In early December, mortgage adviser Venkat Reddy Akkapelli was on Facebook when he noticed Cavan GAA was selling raffle tickets for a three-bedroomed double-fronted house at Barnwell Woods, Dublin 15.

At €100 per ticket, the father-of-one hesitated for a moment, but bought one after reading all proceeds would go towards improving the club's facilities.

Mr Akkapelli, who moved to Ireland from India more than 10 years ago, told the Irish Independent his life changed forever when he got a call from Cavan GAA several weeks later to tell him he was the lucky winner.

"I just couldn't believe it and kept asking the man on the other end of the phone if it was really true," he said.

"He asked me to check out their website to see the results for myself. It then finally hit me.

"My wife was reading my son a bedtime story at the time when she heard me screaming.

"She thought I had won €5,000 or €2,000 in the raffle but never imagined that I actually won the grand prize.

"We didn't sleep at all that night and called our parents in India, who were just as excited as us."

The ecstatic dad said his family were now preparing to move out of their apartment in Dublin city centre.

"We are all so excited to move in, especially my son who now has his own room and a garden to play in.

"He plays cricket for Sandymount YMCA and is very active so I was glad that the proceeds of this raffle were going towards a good cause.

"We haven't stopped smiling since."

All funds raised from the draw will go towards the development of the Cavan GAA Polo Grounds Centre of Excellence.

When built, the development will provide three new full-size, floodlit, grass pitches as well as a high-performance gym, additional male and female changing facilities and a community walking/running track.

Cavan vice chairman Mark O'Rourke said he was delighted to hand over the keys to the family yesterday afternoon.

"We thank the developers, McGarrell Reilly Group, our organising committee and especially everyone who supported this fantastic fund-raiser, which has been an outstanding success," he said.

Irish Independent