Winner revealed for Lancashire country mansion competition

Dunstan Low outside Melling Manor.
Dunstan Low outside Melling Manor.
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The winner of a competition to walk away with the keys to a country house in the Lune Valley has been revealed.

Marie Segar from Warrington has been chosen at random as the winner to become the new owner of the Grade II Listed, six bedroomed Melling Manor in Melling, Lancashire.

The draw took place today (Tuesday August 15) at the home at 4pm.

Owner Dunstan Low picked the winner at random using a number generator on an independent mobile phone.

The draw was overseen by solicitors and an independent adjudicator.

Ms Segar was chosen from more than 440,000 entries from all over the world.

Dunstan Low rang Ms Segar shortly after the announcement.

Ms Segar said: "Is this a wind up?"

"I'm just in shock.

"I can't believe it, I just can't.

"I don't have a plan, I entered and I never thought for a moment...you know I haven't even told anybody! Thank you so much!"

Ms Segar will now also take on the title of Lady Melling for a year.

Dunstan Low said: "Marie bought 20 tickets at a cost of £40 so that's a pretty solid investment, congratulations!

"Over the past six months we have sold 500,000 paid entries to our raffle and we have had around 12,000 free entries.

"We have people from Bentham, Lancaster, all the way to the Bronx, New Zealand enter the competition."

Entries for the competition priced at £2 each have raised £890,000 so far.

Owner Dunstan Low bought Melling Manor in 2011 and set about returning it to its former glory in a year long refurbishment project.

But the married father-of-two said that when business began to slow down, he struggled to pay the mortgage, and the property became a hot potato.

He said he has since tried but failed to sell the house using traditional methods, so launched the unique competition which could net someone the property - valued at £845,000 - for just £2 a ticket.

Mr Low will donate £30,000 of the funds to St John’s Hospice in Lancaster, and will also give a £10,000 donation to the children's charity NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) based in Birkenhead, the Wirral.

Mr Low, his wife Natasha and two sons, Dylan, 16 and Ozzy, five, will now looking at moving to a small house in the area.

Mr Low said the property dates back to 1797, and is the East Wing of the former Melling Hall.

Melling Hall was built in 1792 by ship owners the Gillison family. It was a hospital during the war, and then a hotel until 2000.

The Win A Country House competition has attracted lots of attention since it hit the national headlines.

A scam website was even set up earlier this month to look like the competition in an attempt to steal people's credit card details.

But the scam website was reported and later taken down.