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John and Maria had several reasons to celebrate the New Year but none was bigger than the moment they were told they’d won a house.
The Brisbane couple had just become grandparents and their daughter, Alicia, and baby Charlie were moving to Townsville with her fiancé Sasha. Their son, Aaron, had just graduated, started a full-time job in banking and was moving out of home having become engaged to his long-time girlfriend Danielle. Amid the comings and goings, John and Maria were getting ready to visit Bribie Island for a few days for her brother’s wedding.
Then the phone rang.
“It was 11.15am on Thursday 5th January. I will never forget the moment!” John said.
“Wilma Burton, the manager of Prize Home Lotteries and Bingo for Endeavour Foundation, told me that we had won the Upper Coomera house.
“I turned to Maria and said ‘I think we’ve won a house’ and she said ‘are you serious?’
“I was a mess and I couldn’t stop shaking!”
Maria, 47, checked on Endeavour Foundation’s website for the details about the fully-furnished house first prize package valued at $856,236.
“I didn’t think it was real until I saw our initials listed as the winners on the website and realised it was true.
“We tried to ring my brother on the way up to Bribie but couldn’t get hold of him so, when we arrived, I showed him the Endeavour Foundation brochure.
“He said ‘oh that looks like a nice house’ and we said ‘it’s ours!’
“We went back to Brisbane that night for a celebratory dinner with our children, then back to Bribie for the wedding and we haven’t stopped since. It’s been a blur!”
John, 53, had visions of moving to Bribie Island one day but the plan has changed since that dramatic phone call.
“I always thought I’d like to retire to Bribie but the house in Upper Coomera is fantastic, although I now need to learn how to maintain a pool!”
John and Maria also won $30,000 in gold bullion for being multiple ticket purchasers but say the incredible win won’t change them as people.
“We’ll move into the house – that decision took five seconds to make – and the timing is perfect as we’re at the crossroads of our lives with the kids moving out, but we’ll carry on working,” Maria said.
John is with Australian Quarantine and Maria might take an extra day off each week from working at Master Engraving as she’s had multiple sclerosis for seven years.
“It goes to show that winning an Endeavour Foundation prize home happens to ordinary people!” she said.
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