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‘There’s just a week to go before the big raffle for our apartment and I’m busy making a promo movie with the Happy Pear guys!’

With the draw date looming on the raffle for her Co Wicklow property, Anne Marie Sparks has been filming the people in the winner’s new neighbourhood

Halloween will be a scary experience for me this year if I don’t sell enough tickets in my grand plan to raffle our apartment in Delgany/Greystones.

After months of selling tickets frantically, I’m now on the final push with just one week to go. I can see the finish line fast approaching. Don’t panic!

It all started because we needed more space at home for myself, my husband, my two teenage boys and our dog. We were about to sell our one-bedroom investment apartment in a luxury seaside scheme and use the money to build the extension we need for three-bed semi.

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Anne Marie on her apartment balcony

Anne Marie on her apartment balcony

Anne Marie on her apartment balcony

But just before the sign went up, I happened across a series of raffles for homes in Ireland, organised by a UK based company called Raffall.com.

The idea is that if you can sell enough tickets, you will actually make more money than if you sell the property. You also make money for a nominated charity. It sounded great to me. So I enrolled our apartment in the lead-in process for a raffle and designated the Ross Nugent Foundation, named after my late nephew who left us way too soon.

So on Halloween night at 7pm some lucky ducker will win the fully furnished coastal apartment in the Eden Gate development in Delgany/Greystones for a €23 ticket — if we sell enough tickets between now and then that is.

We’ve sold 8,000 so far. So we need to sell 7,000 more to hand over the key to our apartment and a cheque to the Ross Nugent Foundation.

If we don’t — the target is between 15,000 and 20,000 — then the collected money is raffled minus the fees for Raffall.com. We and the charity both walk away, nothing lost or gained.

So the pressure is truly on to promo, promo, promo!

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An exterior view of the apartment building at 56 Priory Court, Delgany, Co Wicklow

An exterior view of the apartment building at 56 Priory Court, Delgany, Co Wicklow

An exterior view of the apartment building at 56 Priory Court, Delgany, Co Wicklow

Thus far I’ve been in the newspapers and all over the internet. And if anyone with a TV or radio show wants me, give me a shout please!!!

While selling another 7,000 seems like a lot with a week left, we’re not too worried.

Raffall.com, which raffles a home every two weeks, maintains that most of the tickets are sold in the final week.

And for the last while, I’ve had the services of their online promoter, Sarah, who has been facebooking, tweeting and instagramming to beat the band. But I need to come up with one more great big online promo idea to push it all over the line.

For this I’ve decided to make a video about all the shops, outlets and, most importantly, the people that make our neighbourhood great, because this will also be important to those buying tickets. I phoned around the village. Incoming crazy lady with phone cam? Would that be ok? They were all happy to oblige.

I hit the ground running with the famous Happy Pear boys.

Everybody knows these guys. Dave and Steve, ever smiling in their trademark denim shorts, exuding coolness and trendiness as Ireland’s handsomest gurus on healthy living. Having them in my video is a big coup.

So what will you guys do for our new resident winner to be? On film they say the winner can join them for their 8am daily swims in the Cove or do a yoga class which is becoming a very popular pastime on Greystones beach these days. What a great start! A daily dip for the winner with the Happy Pears! I get a picture of us together. Gourmet cheeeese!

But no time for hanging about with them. Busy, busy. Bye boys!

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Anne Marie with Claire Cullen from The Fat Fox cafe, Greystones

Anne Marie with Claire Cullen from The Fat Fox cafe, Greystones

Anne Marie with Claire Cullen from The Fat Fox cafe, Greystones

It’s down to lovely Claire from the Fat Fox café, where our winner will certainly be hanging out. Her coffee shop and homemade bakery has mouth watering cakes and deserts.

We sit under the fringed umbrellas eating the most divine pink iced cakes. Vic at the Gourmet Café, who does great work for Greystones Cancer Support and Pieta tells me he wants to win the apartment himself.

Next is the local Supervalu where I must have shares bought because I’m in there about three times every day.

The owner Ann is just lovely and Mark, Shane, Miro and Paddy are The A Team. They get together around the frozen dinner section and sing in unison the Sesame Street song, ‘Who Are the People in Your Neighbourhood?’ Promo video gold. Thanks lads!

I hurry to Farrelly butchers on the Delgany side. Ethan, Keith and Robin are the real men of Delgany. Ready for their close-up, they’re waiting with cowboy hats on. Yee ha! Lovely touch lads! The shop is adorned with awards for their produce.

These guys are serious master butchers and they want my apartment winner to celebrate with their finest fillet steaks which are simply fabulous (Yes, I’m shameless, I’ll plug their AMAZING steaks! AMAAZING!). So I start filming. Go for broke lads!

On film they say the whole village is talking about the raffle, that it’s a welcome distraction from depressing Covid news and they can’t wait to welcome the winner into the community. Brilliant. Cut! Delgany’s butcher boys are also famous for their cheeky messages on their noticeboard and the craic is great in there.

Next I’m barging into Claire in the Bear Paw. My sons love her almond slices and all the goodies she has displayed in the window tempting me every day has put a stone on me since Claire opened in the village. Camera on! Claire tells it that the staff are all excited to meet the eventual winner and have the chats with them. The same rang through for the gang at the award winning Firhouse Bakery where there is not a sour dough bread left on the shelf after 9am on the weekends.

I’m wrecked filming now. So the last camera stop can only be my local watering hole, The Horse and Hound Pub and Restaurant.

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Anne Marie in The Horse and Hound, Delgany with Patti Shields and Mary Molloy

Anne Marie in The Horse and Hound, Delgany with Patti Shields and Mary Molloy

Anne Marie in The Horse and Hound, Delgany with Patti Shields and Mary Molloy

The owners Mary, Mark and Patti come over beside the roaring fire and we sip on wine and Guinness, accompanied by the best fish and chips on the planet and we talk about why it’s a great idea to BUY MY TICKETS!

This 200-year old pub has to be the winner’s new local. So camera on: talk guys: They say they want to make my big winner feel right at home in The Horse and Hound.

It has certainly been my second home for the last 23 years and I intend to have dinner in their Bellevue Restaurant after the big raffle day to unwind after months of frantic activity. That’s a wrap. Job done. Thanks so much everybody! No local traders were harmed in the making of this film!

Because truly, when I think about it, most of all it’s the people that make the neighbourhood. Making my promo vid has reminded me that while I won’t be winning any apartments, I am the luckiest person in the world to live in such a beautiful community surrounded by the best of people.

I met mum the next day for our daily ritual, a walk beside the sea and a respite from ticketeering. “You’re living in the Monaco of Ireland says my mum. I feel alive when I come out here to see you.” — “Where are we going? Muds for coffee?” I ask her?...”Cafe Gray, the Hungry Monk?”

Whomever wins the keys will also be spoiled for coffee too as well as cliff walks, beaches, a marina, you name it.

Next a big delivery of posters has arrived. With my contacts in hospitals from my days nursing, I’m planning on sending them out, one for every notice board at every hospital in Ireland.

My big months’ long ‘raffle my property’ promo push isn’t over yet. Now comes the last big effort.

Tomorrow I’m getting in my car and driving to Gorey, Arklow, Cherrywood, Dundrum to put the posters up wherever I can. So now I am now a poster girl. Just not as I imagined! But I have to get over that line!

Get your tickets now, only €23, on www.winahomeindelgany.com. We want to hand over those keys to a new owner, so don’t wait! Queries to winahomeindelgany@gmail.com


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